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myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites)
ODA rating: B
 
USDA Symbol: EUMY2
Oregon myrtle spurge distribution
 
Other common names
creeping spurge and donkey tail spurge
 
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Images by Dan Sharratt, Oregon Department of Agriculture

 
If images are downloaded and used from the ODA web site please be sure to credit the photographer.
 
Description
Perennial; blooms in early spring . Grows 4 to 6 inches tall. Leaves alternately arranged in close spirals around the fleshy, trailing, blue-green stems. Flowers inconspicuous and surrounded by a showy yellow green bract. This plant prefers well-drained dry to moist soils with partial shade to full sun. Mrytle spurge is an escaped ornamental that inhabits disrupted areas and waste places. It grows well in zones 5-9 and is known to like dry rocky areas as well.

 
Impacts
Originally planted as a rock garden ornamental, the species has escaped and is spreading on to open lands in dryer parts of the state. Seeds can be ejected when plants are disturbed, sticking to wildlife hair and enabling transport far from the parent plants. Aside from displacing desirable native species, the plant invades playgrounds and parks in some states. The sap of myrtle spurge is caustic and creates rashes, swelling and blistering of the skin and is a human health concern.
 
Introduction
Native to Eurasia. Reported in eastern Oregon also in Klamath and Wasco counties.
 
Distribution in Oregon

Biological controls One approved biological control agent, a leafy spurge flea beetle, has had a high survival rate on myrtle spurge in laboratory studies.