The mole plant


The mole plant (Euphorbia lathyris) is one of those plants that pops up in gardens, often unannounced and uninvited, that causes consternation because, when young, it looks so distinctive and odd. The narrow leaves are arranged in pairs at 90 degrees to each other in four rows down the tall, unbranched stems unless the growing point is damaged. A biennial, it spends the first year as a rather architectural, upright stem and then, in the second spring starts to branch at the top, forming a large head of green bracts around insignificant flowers and then round, slightly triangular seed pods that explode when ripe, hurling the seeds around the garden and even next door. In good soil it can easily reach 1.2m high. The common name comes from the fact that secretions from the roots are supposed to repel moles. I have never known anyone who has been able to confirm this but it makes a good sales pitch for nurseries that want to sell this easily grown and potentially invasive plant. It is native to south Europe and thrives in dry soils. The sap, in common with most euphorbias, is poisonous or irritant though it has been used in the past to remove moles and warts on the skin (not to be recommended). Although certainly a handsome plant it has the potential to be a nuisance.




, ,

2 Comments on “The mole plant”

  1. derrickjknight
    September 17, 2016 at 11:07 am #

    One we haven’t got. No rating?

    • thebikinggardener
      September 19, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      LOL – no – it is so invasive I didnt think I dare encourage anyone to plant it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sweetgum and Pines

gardening in the North Carolina piedmont

Ravenscourt Gardens

Learning life's lessons in the garden!

RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life

Paddy Tobin, An Irish Gardener

Our garden, gardens visited, occasional thoughts and book reviews


un altro blog sul giardinaggio...


four decades of organic vegetable gardening and barely a clue

The Long Garden Path

A walk round the Estate!


Gardening on the edge of a cliff

Uprooted Magnolia

I'm Leah, a freelance Photographer born and raised in Macon, GA, USA. I spent 8 years in the wild west and this is my photo journal on life, love, and the spirit of Wyoming. Welcome to Uprooted Magnolia.

Interesting Literature

A Library of Literary Interestingness

Garden Variety

A Gardening, Outdoor Lifestyle and Organic Food & Drink Blog

For the Love of Iris

Articles, Tips and Notes from Schreiner's Iris Gardens

One Bean Row

Words and pictures from an Irish garden by Jane Powers

Plant Heritage

We are working to save garden plants for people to use and enjoy today and tomorrow


An English persons experience of living and gardening in Ireland

%d bloggers like this: