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Thesis (M.S.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1982. Department of Agronomy.


Copyright 1982, the author. Used by permission.


Various herbarium specimens of leafy spurge from North American have repeatedly been compared to their European counterparts. Some researchers have classified the variable specimens as Euphorbia esula L., while others have recognized many separate and distinct species. Thus, the list of descriptions and binomials includes many entries.

Since leafy spurge is a prime candidate for biological control, identification of the realm of the “esula complex” in North America is necessary. The objectives of the experiment were: (a) to eliminate environmental factors and observe live specimens in a nursery situation, (b) to compare old taxonomic keys with newer ones and identify which characteristics are descriptive only and which are of taxonomic value, (c) to key the plants in the nursery using a most recent description of the subsection of the genus Euphorbia that includes the esula complex.

Advisor: M. K. McCarty