Spurge Laurel is a woody, evergreen shrub that was introduced to BC as a garden ornamental. Its evergreen leaves and fast-growing tendencies are tempting for gardeners; however, this plant also comes with some dangerous features. All parts of the Spurge Laurel plant are highly toxic, including berries, leaves, stem, bark and sap. The sap can cause skin rashes, nausea, swelling of the tongue, and coma. One fatality of a child in Nova Scotia has been linked to the consumption of its berries.
Spurge Laurel also has detrimental impacts within BC ecosystems, including Douglas fir forests and Garry oak woodlands. It grows very quickly (one plant can grow up to 5.5m in a single season), which allows it to outcompete our native plants and create dense patches. Decaying plant material may also release toxic chemicals that inhibit germination of other plant species.
You can help stop the spread of Spurge Laurel in BC by instead choosing to plant native evergreen shrubs, such as Salal. Please also report any sightings of Spurge Laurel to our field team at ssisc.ca/report or by emailing email@example.com.