This Invasive Idaho Weed Can Burn Skin and Cause Blindness
Oh yes springtime, a glimpse in Idaho at the gorgeous outdoor adventure seasons ahead. We love our outdoors here in the Treasure Valley and hiking is a big part of that recreation. As you are out and about please be careful of this harmless looking plant that is anything but. This invasive weed is called Myrtle Spurge and is unfortunately on Idaho hiking trails.
Its scientific name is Euphorbia myrsinites, but just know its bad. It is common in Washington, Oregon and Idaho even though groups have been trying to eradicate it. Boise Parks and Recreation has a website page dedicated to nuisance and dangerous plants found in the area. According to them Myrtle Spurge is found regularly in the Boise foothills although they are found popping up all over the state.
It is a light green weed that produces small yellow flowers in the early spring. It is actually kind of pretty and probably something I would think was a native plant or flower. Glad I know better now because this weed is dangerous! The leaves greenish-grey and are thick, fleshy and waxy to the touch. I would stay away from all parts of the plant if you see it but especially stay clear of the milky sap that leaks out of the branches. According to Only in your State, The sap can burn, blister, and cause swelling with skin that it comes into contact with. It can even cause blindness if it gets into your eyes.
Myrtle Spurge multiplies aggressively and there are local Weed Warrior groups trying to get it all the way out of the state. Keep an eye out and steer clear as you are enjoying the Gem State's outdoors this year. If you need some inspiration check this link out for Boise's Best Hiking Trails.