The Scourge of Spurge Laurel Spurge laurel (Daphne laureola) is neither a spurge nor a laurel, but rather an invasive plant in the Daphne family. This perennial plant has poisonous berries, spreads aggressively in our native forests, and is increasingly being found in Clackamas County. Native to Europe, spurge laurel was introduced in Oregon as […]
Tag Archives | Spurge laurel
Spurge laurel is an evergreen, slow-growing, long-lived, and shade-tolerant woody shrub that grows up to five feet tall. It is a member of the Thymelaeaceae family. The plant is poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs and handling the plant can also cause contact dermatitis. Be sure to wear gloves when handling this plant. It growth in both an upright form and a more sprawling form with many stems emerging laterally from the root crown.
Height of mature plants
February to April
Spurge laurel has been found to prefer moderate shade at 12%-15% canopy closure. It is a serious threat in Oregon White Oak woodland and Douglas fir forests in our region. It also affects other forest types and residential properties mostly in more urbanized area of Clackamas County.
Escaped populations from ornamental plantings continue to expand into forested areas especially adjacent to urban areas. As birds further disperse seeds, more habitats will be invaded and native plant communities altered. Oak woodland forests are the greatest at-risk forests because of this and other aggressive weed species. Most plant parts are toxic to humans and contain toxic compounds. Contact with the sap can cause skin irritation and ingestion of the seeds can cause poisoning especially in young children.
Noxious Weed Listing:
Europe and Northern Africa