You’ve probably seen the mole plant euphorbia blooming in pastures or meadows, sometimes in a yellow mass. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the name, this may leave you wondering, “What is a mole plant?”. Read on to find out more.
About Mole Plants
Botanically the mole plant is called Euphorbia lathyris. Other common names are caper spurge, leafy spurge, and gopher spurge.
Caper spurge mole plant is either an annual or biennial plant that exudes latex when cut or broken. It has cup-shaped, greenish or yellow flowers. The plant is upright, leaves are linear and bluish-green in color. Unfortunately, all parts of the mole spurge plant are poisonous. Please don’t mistake it for the plant that produces capers, as some have, since the poison in the caper spurge mole plant can be quite toxic.
Despite its toxicity, various parts of the mole spurge plant have been used medicinally through the years. The seeds were used by French peasants as a purgative, similar to castor oil. Folklore about mole plants says the latex has been used for cancers and warts.
Further information about mole plants says it is a Mediterranean native, brought to the United States for the use of repelling rodents in orchards and various other agricultural locations. The mole spurge plant escaped its boundaries and self-seeded rampantly on both the east and west coasts of the U.S.
Mole Spurge Plant in Gardens
If the mole plant euphorbia is growing in your landscape, you may be one of the recipients of self-seeding. Spread may sometimes be controlled by removing flower heads before they go to seed. If you’ve noticed a decline in bothersome rodents or moles in your landscape, you may thank the mole plant euphorbia and continue to let it grow.
Each gardener will have to decide if the mole spurge plant is an effective repellent plant or a noxious weed in their landscape. The mole plant euphorbia is not likely to be considered an ornamental by most gardeners or by information about mole plants.
Learning more about mole plants can help you control it should you decide it is not needed as a repellent plant. Control of mole plant can be as simple as digging plants up by the roots before they go to seed. Now you’ve learned what a mole plant is and useful information about the mole plant, including its uses.