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An Ode to Leafy Spurge

group photo of crew

By Lucy Tschida, Youth Outdoors Crew 6 Member / AmeriCorps Member

After a couple demanding weeks of pulling introduced (“invasive”) species in the metro (Cedar Lake, North Mississippi Regional Park, and more), Youth Outdoors Crew 6 has a new enemy… Leafy Spurge. While ranking the “worst” introduced plants isn’t necessarily easy when bearing in mind the barbed stems of buckthorn and the vicious burns of garlic mustard, this week Leafy spurge takes the cake.

yellow floral plant
Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) is an herbaceous plant that can grow up to four feet tall. It can cover open grassy areas, decrease native plant species, and reduce forage for grazing animals (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources).

Let me introduce you to this noxious (and obnoxious) foe. Accidentally introduced to the U.S. as a seed contaminant in 1826, Leafy spurge quickly made a name for itself as it spread across the country – beginning in Massachusetts, then North Dakota and the West (National Invasive Species Information Center). Currently Leafy Spurge poses a large threat to Minnesota ecosystem health seeing as it is toxic to many grazing animals such as cattle and horses, and it greatly reduces the productivity and biodiversity of pasture and prairie lands (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources). Moral of the story…as far as introduced species go, 10/10 I would not recommend!

While learning about native and non-native Minnesota plant species has been the aspect of my Conservation Corps term that I have enjoyed the most so far (besides the amazing people), this blog post is specifically inspired by a certain introduced species melody. After a long day of pulling Leafy Spurge, and coincidentally listening to the crew theme song, “Better Days” by NEIKED, Mae Muller, and Polo G, a Leafy Spurge parody song was born. Thanks to Youth Outdoors 6 Crew Leader Charles Sifferlen’s hard work & masterful lyrical abilities, I present… An Ode to Leafy Spurge.

 

Can I get an Amen
Pull Leafy Spurge ‘til the day end
Pray for better shade cause it’s 98 at 9 AM
Do you remember first week pulling spurge out
Sun shining on us and we’re feeling burnt out
I’m driving and I think I took the worst route
Just vibin’ while we doing garden work now
Drive back empty our weeds
Do it at MPRB
Stop by for the A/C and the ice please
Have you seen my keys?
Pull these trees no herbicide
Even though I’m certified
Youth Outdoors don’t hurt to try
This YO6 crew pulls spurge for life…yurr