Invasive Species Alert

Pretty Plant Called Myrtle Spurge is Dangerous and Toxic

Photo Taken By L. Scott
Alert Date:Posted on

The Invasive Species Council of BC (ISCBC) is warning residents about myrtle spurge, an invasive plant that looks pretty but is harmful.

Two young girls who visited their grandparents in the Okanagan this summer wound up with facial swelling and blisters after picking the plant.

“They got out of bed, and I was shocked to see their faces puffed up with blisters. I went to the store and bought some allergy medicine which helped but I didn’t have a chance to find out what caused the reaction because we were taking the girls back to Alberta that day,” said Sandra Nimmo.

Later, the family identified the plant as myrtle spurge. The girls recovered, with their skin clearing up in about a week and a half.

Myrtle spurge is popular in rock gardens and likes dry, disturbed soils. It can grow quickly and aggressively, and release chemicals from its roots that stop other plants from growing near it. Myrtle spurge’s milky white sap is toxic to both humans and animals. The sap can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if consumed while skin contact causes redness, swelling, blotching and blisters.

Small infestations of myrtle spurge can be carefully hand-pulled or dug up. Gloves, long sleeves and eye protection should be worn. Eyes should never be rubbed until after hands are thoroughly washed.

To read the full article, click here.

For more information about myrtle spurge, visit