There’s An Invasive, Toxic Plant That is Sending People to The Hospital. Here’s What You Need to Know.

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Spring is here and that means so is gardening season and lots of time being spent outdoors.

With that being said, what you don’t know could harm you, your children or your pets.

I was today years old when I learned that there is an invasive, toxic plant that is so toxic, it is sending people to the hospital.

Honestly, at first look, I thought it looked like a pretty succulent and I wouldn’t have thought anything of it if I were to come across it in my garden.

The toxic, invasive plant is called Myrtle Spurge and it is an invasive species with poisonous sap.

It is so toxic and poisonous, my local health department just posted about it today on Facebook about how you can stay safe while also ridding the world of this dangerous plant.

“This dangerous weed poses a threat to human health, pet health, the environment, public roads, crops and other habitats.

Salt Lake County Health Department
Gopher or upright myrtle spurge plant without flowers. Euphorbia rigida.

Myrtle Spurge Poisoning Symptoms

Myrtle spurge is poisonous if ingested or touched by humans or pets. Poisoning can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and several skin and eye irritations such as swelling and blisters. If it gets into the eyes, it can also cause blindness.

The problem is, it can be pretty to look at and sometimes even blooms with yellow flowers. Children can often mistaken this as a flower to pick and can come in contact with the toxins of the plant.

Reports have shown that people (even kids) are being hospitalized and sent to the E.R. after coming into contact with this plant.

The 4-year-old girl above was taken to the E.R. after her eyes were nearly swollen shut and she had blisters on her hands and face. After looking at her scavenger hunt finds, her mom realized she had collected myrtle spurge.

This mom posted on Facebook warning others about the plant saying her kids were playing with it and got blisters.

Over the weekend my kiddos got into some Myrtle Spurge, aka Donkey Tail Spurge, that grows next to my driveway. I had ZERO idea it was poisonous, but the milk inside can cause blistering rashes similar to poison ivy.They used it to draw on the sidewalk and on eachother (🤦‍♀️). Please let your kids know not to play in this stuff, it can cause blindness if it gets in their eyes as well.

Angie Lucille

Another mom posted a warning too saying:

PSA to everyone…especially Colorado moms!!! Watch out for this plant. It’s called myrtle spurge and it’s on Colorado’s A-list of noxious weeds requiring it to be eradicated. It has a milky sap which is toxic and can cause skin irritation and blisters. Lucky us…it’s growing in our backyard and Clark was picking “flowers” and obviously touched his face after. Harmful for animals too!! Please spread the word.

Sheesh – sounds scary, doesn’t it?

Where Does Myrtle Spurge Grow?

Myrtle spurge inhabits open areas such as fields, rangelands, gardens, disrupted areas, roadsides and waste places. It is a perennial plant that reproduces by seed so it’s important to get rid of any plant you come across and dispose of it properly.

How to Get Rid of Myrtle Spurge

In order to get rid of myrtle spurge, you must wear protective gear at all times. Never touch the toxic weed with bare hands.

  1. Always wear gloves, long sleeve shirts, protective eyewear, etc.
  2. Pull at least 4″ of the root or below the crown.
  3. Place in bags in the trash can after removal. Never compost it.

It’s worth taking a look in your yards, gardens and in any area your kids and pets may play. This is super dangerous and something everyone needs to know about!

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