Lifewatch: Myrtle Spurge

Reported by Claire Hosmann  email
Posted by Heather Setzler  bio | email

(WECT) -- Myrtle Spurge has recently been listed as a noxious weed by Colorado.  The perennial weed is often found in rock gardens, but lately it's moving into natural areas where it has the potential to do enormous environmental damage.

In this case, two families felt it first hand.

Myrtle Spurge can be quite beautiful, but not anymore.

Two Colorado moms each have three little girls, and on Saturday something very bizarre happened.

"Blistering, red faces and swelling. They looked like they had just blown up."

The women's oldest girls, Isabelle and Patty, say they were doing what children do, using their imaginations.

"We were pretending it could be like milk, and we squeezed it out into a cup."

They didn't know, but the milky white substance inside the plant is poisonous.

"I noticed my lips and tongue were really numb.  Our tongues were burning too."

The parents quickly figured out it was the plant, and somehow the girls had gotten the white sticky stuff all over their faces.

Immediately they removed the Myrtle Spurge by hand, then went to the store, bought weed killer and zapped the roots out.

If you have Myrtle Spurge growing on your property, it's recommended that you get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Myrtle Spurge was introduced as an ornamental plant because of its deer resistance and adaptation to dry soil.  If you find it in your yard, wear protective clothing and make sure you pull it out from the root.