Okanagan parents warned to keep children from this toxic plant | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Okanagan parents warned to keep children from this toxic plant

Myrtle spurge is attractive and harmful, according to the Central Okanagan Regional District.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/S. Summerfield
March 29, 2021 - 5:07 PM

Parents, if you have future botanists or even just outdoor-loving littles in your mix keep an eye out for an attractive but harmful plant.

The Central Okanagan Regional District issued a warning “especially to parents with curious kids” that the plant myrtle spurge, which is also known as donkey tail, is starting to flower around the Okanagan, offering up an attractive hazard.

“It contains a milky sap that can cause irritation, blotching, blisters and swelling in sensitive individuals. If it gets in your eyes, it can cause temporary blindness,” reads the warning from the regional district.

“Several children in the Penticton area have recently been exposed to this plant.”

Myrtle spurge is an invasive plant that is popular in rock gardens.

“It is a low-growing perennial with trailing stems of fleshy blue-green alternate leaves,” the regional district said in the social media post.

“Flowers are inconspicuous, surrounded by yellow-green flower-like bracts that appear in early spring.”

If you have myrtle spurge on your property you should carefully remove it with gloves, long sleeves and eye protection on.

“Eyes should be never be rubbed until after hands are thoroughly washed,” reads the warning.

“Small patches of all species should be carefully dug out, with removal of as much of the root system as possible, then the space should be replanted with hearty non-invasive plants that will keep its regrows at bay."

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