Denver leads citizens to war against evil plant filled with (temporarily) blinding juice

Dear myrtle spurge: Your name is stupid, your time has come and your succulent good looks will not save you from judgment.

Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)

Dear myrtle spurge: Your name is stupid, your time has come and your succulent good looks will not save you from judgment at the hands of our enraged populace.

That is basically what the city of Denver is saying to the noxious weed known as the spurge.

This month brings us Denver’s 7th annual Purge the Spurge event, which encourages everyone to go into their yards and Murder the Spurger on May 20. (Denver, feel free to use that idea.)

In exchange for spilling the poisonous blood of our hated enemy, the city of Denver will give to you a free native plant.

Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge in its flowering stage. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)

The reason we are all so mad is that myrtle spurge is an invasive plant from Eurasia.

It contains a “toxic, milky sap,” that can cause severe skin irritation, according to the state of Colorado. All parts of the plant are considered poisonous. It can grow to about 12 inches high and 18 inches wide. It competes with native vegetation, kills off food for wildlife and generally casts a foul blight upon the land.

How to participate:
  • Identify the enemy.
  • Choose a day of glory, ideally when the soil is moist, the weed has not flowered and a crusading light shines in your heart.
  • Wear gloves and other protective clothing. Keep the plant-blood from your eye, because it will temporarily blind you. I’m being serious.
  • Pull it out by its evil roots. KEEP IT OUT OF YOUR EYES.
  • Put its undead corpse in a plastic bag. Do not eat.
  • Take it to 888 E. Iliff Ave. between 9 a.m. and noon on May 20.
  • Bring home a nice garden plant.
  • Beware that the enemy may rise again at the site where it was slain for up to eight years. Always beware.
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)
Myrtle spurge. (Kelly Uhnig/City of Denver)

 

Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email akenney@denverite.com.