Myrtle Spurge: A Cautionary Tale of an Invasive Weed with Dangerous Consequences

Beware: Myrtle Spurge Plant Poses Health Risks, Says Salt Lake County Health

The Salt Lake County Health Department is urging residents to be cautious around myrtle spurge, an invasive and potentially harmful weed that was initially brought to Utah as a decorative plant. Now, the plant has spread to natural areas and can be found in many of the city’s parks and outdoor spaces. It is important for people to avoid touching or removing this plant without proper safety precautions.

Myrtle spurge has distinctive blue-green triangular-shaped leaves with milky latex sap and small flowers with yellow bracts during the spring and summer months. The plant spreads through seeds, which can be projected up to 15 feet. This plant contains a white sap that can cause rashes, redness, swelling, and blisters if it comes into contact with your skin or eyes. If you do come into contact with the sap, it is recommended to thoroughly flush the area with water.

The state of Utah classifies myrtle spurge as a noxious weed and prohibits its sale. Despite being advertised as deer-resistant and drought-tolerant, this plant is rapidly invading foothills and wild lands along the Wasatch Front. It is crucial for residents to be aware of the characteristics and potential dangers of myrtle spurge in order to help prevent its further spread.

If you have a story idea or tip related to myrtle spurge or any other topic, please send it to the KSL NewsRadio team for further investigation. Stay informed about invasive species like myrtle spurge so you can help protect your community from their negative effects on plants and wildlife alike.

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