Purge Your Spurge, Myrtle Spurge

Myrtle SpurgeYou may have seen it in a neighbor’s yard. Maybe you have it in your own yard. And maybe you even think it is somewhat attractive. But the truth is, there is nothing pretty about the noxious weed Myrtle spurge. Jefferson County Weed & Pest needs your help in getting rid of this plant that takes over the landscape and is a danger to people, desirable plants and wildlife.

Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) is a highly invasive ‘List A’ noxious perennial weed that is required by the Colorado Noxious Weed Act (C.R.S. 35-5.5-101-119) to be eradicated. Myrtle spurge contains a toxic, milky sap which can cause severe skin irritations, including blistering.  Control is via hand-pulling and digging when soil is moist and before the plant has gone to seed. Wear protective clothing — gloves, long sleeves, shoes and eye protection when in contact with myrtle spurge. All the plant parts are considered poisonous. Bag all parts and discard, do not compost.

Identifying Myrtle Spurge: This weed, also called donkeytail spurge or creeping spurge, is a low-growing perennial with trailing fleshy stems which spreads rapidly to surrounding areas and can ‘jump’ fences to natural areas and displace native vegetation and reduce forage for wildlife. The leaves are fleshy, waxy, grayish to blue-green, alternating along the stem, egg-shaped to circular. The flowers are bright yellow-green, petal-like, and appear from February to May. The plant has a long taproot; it reproduces from seed, which is viable for 8-12 years, but it can also reproduce from root fragments, so remove at least 4 inches of root.

For more information about myrtle spurge contact Alicia Doran, Jeffco Invasive Species Specialist, 303-271-5989, adoran@jeffco.us or visit Wikipedia.com

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