Purge Your Spurge!

Myrtle spurge, also known as donkey’s tail or burro’s tail, is a drought-tolerant plant native to Europe and Asia Minor. It was brought to the western U.S. as an ornamental, but unfortunately it is highly invasive. When ripe, its seeds pop out of their capsules and can travel as far as 15 feet. A patch of myrtle spurge can spread to the extent that it chokes out almost every other plant, including native grasses and wildflowers. We encourage you to get rid of this invasive plant wherever you can. If the ground is moist enough, it can be pulled up by its taproot; otherwise you will need a shovel to dig it out. But be careful! The milky sap is toxic and can cause skin irritation and even blindness if it gets in the eyes. We recommend wearing goggles, gloves, and long pants and sleeves. Herbicides are not very effective on myrtle spurge, because they have a hard time penetrating its waxy leaves and stems.