The Taos County Cooperative Weed Management Area

Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) is a perennial herbaceous weed often found in rock gardens and landscapes, and is moving into natural areas where it has the potential to do environmental damage.

It contains a very corrosive milky sap that can cause redness, swelling and blisters when contacting the skin, and damage/blindness if it contacts the eyes. Sap can also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested.


AKA: Donkey tail, creeping spurge

Stems/Leaves: Mature plants (up to 4-6 inches tall) spread up to 18 inches wide, each growing season; leaves alternate, and arranged in close spirals; thick, fleshy, and blue-green in color.

Flowers: Flowers are inconspicuous, yellow and surrounded by a large yellow-green bract; seeds can be projected from the plant up to 15 feet and can survive in the soil for roughly 8 years.

Roots: Extensive creeping root system.

Reproduction: Vegetative and seed reproduction; most reproduction is from buds on creeping perennial root system.

Management Do's and Don'ts

• Physical removal is only effective if the extensive root system is removed.

• Intense cultivation and planting competitive plants can be helpful in fields.

• Minimizing open areas and establishing competitive plants, especially perennial grasses, can discourage invasion.

• Grazing with sheep or goats.

• Herbicides are effective.


For more information on Myrtle spurge and other invasives, visit the Taos Soil and Water District website:

Please join the following partners in our battle against noxious and invasive weeds in the place we call home: Taos Soil and Water Conservation District, USDA Carson National Forest, USDI Bureau of Land Management (Taos Field Office), New Mexico Department of Agriculture, New Mexico State University Agricultural Extension Office, New Mexico Department of Transportation, New Mexico Division of Forestry, Southern Methodist University (Taos Campus), Taos County, Town of Taos, Amigos Bravos, Taos Land Trust, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, New Mexico Native Plant Society (Taos Chapter), Sunset Park Inc., and Rio Grande Ace Hardware.

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