The invasive weed leafy spurge is now easier to locate, thanks to a new detection method developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their cooperators. ARS physical scientist Raymond Hunt developed and tested the method using NASA's advanced hyperspectral sensor, the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer.
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) is a noxious invasive weed that causes more than $200 million in losses annually in the Great Plains and western United States. It displaces native vegetation and spreads both by seeds and by underground rhizomes. Shoots produce a milky-white sap that is toxic to cattle and horses. Infestations can be controlled by pesticides, goats or Aphthona flea beetles.
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