In the 2012 President's Budget Request, the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) is terminated. As a result, all resources, databases, tools, and applications within this web site will be removed on January 15, 2012. For more information, please refer to the NBII Program Termination page.
Invasive Plant Species in the Mountain Prairie Region
Ecosystems across the United States are being adversely affected by invasive species, and the regional ecosystems that make up the Mountain Prairie region are no different. Learn more about the invasive plants in Mountain Prairie:
Description:Leafy spurge is an erect, branching, perennial herb 2 to 3.5 feet tall, with smooth stems and showy yellow flower bracts. Stems frequently occur in clusters from a vertical root that can extend many feet underground. The leaves are small, oval to lance-shaped, somewhat frosted and slightly wavy along the margin.
Leafy spurge is an ecological threat. It displaces native vegetation in prairie habitats and fields through shading and by usurping available water and nutrients and through plant toxins that prevent the growth of other plants underneath it. Leafy spurge is an aggressive invader and, once present, can completely overtake large areas of open land.
Life History:Leafy spurge reproduces readily by seeds that have a high germination rate and may remain viable in the soil for at least seven years, enhancing its chances of recovery over time. Its seed capsules open explosively, dispersing seed up to 15 feet from the parent plant and may be carried further by water and wildlife. Leafy spurge also spreads vegetatively at a rate of several feet per year. The root system is complex, can reach 15 or more feet into the ground, and may have numerous buds.
Habitat:In the United States, leafy spurge tolerates moist to dry soil conditions but is most aggressive under dry conditions where competition from native plants is reduced. It is capable of invading disturbed sites, including prairies, savannas, pastures, abandoned fields and roadside areas.
Leafy spurge occurs across much of the northern U.S., with the most extensive infestations reported for Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming. It has been identified as a serious pest on a number of national parks and on preserves of The Nature Conservancy in eleven northern states.