Purge Your Spurge!

Myrtle spurgeMyrtle spurge, also known as burro tail or donkey tail, is a drought-tolerant plant that used to be promoted as an ornamental.  While the yellowish flower bracts, which appear in spring, can be attractive, myrtle spurge is not a desirable plant in Utah.  It has turned out to be highly invasive, spreading through the foothills and displacing native grasses and wildflowers.  Its milky sap is poisonous and can cause blindness if it gets in the eyes; it can also cause an allergic reaction like poison ivy in some people.  If you have this plant in your yard, especially if you live adjacent to an open area, we encourage you to put on a pair of tough leather gloves and pull it up by the roots, disposing of it in the trash or yard waste can.  Above all, do not buy myrtle spurge or plant it in your garden!  Better, more environmentally friendly choices for spring color include tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs, as well as bearded iris.  All of these more familiar flowers can survive and even thrive along the Wasatch Front without any irrigation water.