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What is The Myrtle Spurge and Why Should We Care?

Mytle Spurge
Colorado State University Extension

Myrtle Spurge is a really cool looking plant that people like to use in xeriscapes and rock gardens in Colorado. Here’s the problem, it takes over native vegetation and  the plant seeps a toxic, milky latex, which can cause severe skin irritations. Basically, it’s poisonous.   Wearing gloves, long sleeves, and shoes is highly recommended if you plan on handling any Myrtle Spurge.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has launched a campaign to stop the spread of noxious weeds across the state.  Myrtle Spurge is one of those weeds.  There are  Currently 74 species of plants in the state that are designated “noxious,” meaning they pose a threat to the state’s agricultural productivity, wildlife habitat and native plant communities.

WHERE CAN YOU FIND IT?

Myrtle Spurge is found mostly in Jefferson County and the Denver Metro area with minor populations in El Paso, Larimer and Garfield counties.

HOW TO GET RID OF IT

The best way to control myrtle spurge is to remove plants prior to seed set and to find and remove new plants as early as possible.   Make sure you pull all the roots and wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from the toxic milky sap.

If you see a plant, please contact your county weed management program

HOW DANGEROUS IS THE MYRTLE SPURGE?

Myrtle spurge contains a toxic, milky sap which can cause severe skin irritations, including blistering. This plant is poisonous if ingested; causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Wearing gloves, long sleeves, shoes, and eye protection is highly recommended when in contact with myrtle spurge. All plant parts are considered poisonous.

[Colorado Department of Agriculture]

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