I had thought I had hit a gold mine. A plant that would repel moles in the garden. A friend of mine said that it worked for her and she gave me a slender stalk a couple of years ago. She didn’t tell me what a weed it could turn out to be if not kept under control.
The sweet little plant has sent seeds many directions and now I am systematically removing each little start as it emerges from the soil. I now keep a closer eye on the original plant and keep it trimmed down so it will not form more seed pods that could send out seeds in all directions. This seems like such a small requirement and minimal time with the payoff of repelling pesky critters from my vegetable garden.
I have not had a mole in the garden for the last three years, I attributed my good fortune to the mole plant. It seemed too good to be true, and you know the warnings when something seems too good to be true. I wanted to learn more so I decided to investigate the magical properties of this plant.
I visited the Washington State University website to look up my sweet little plant.
The Mole Plant (also known as Caper Spurge, Gopher Spurge or Gopher Plant) is a garden annual or biennial that is mistakenly thought to repel moles or pocket gophers.
What could they possibly mean by ‘mistakenly’? Then I read further,
All parts of this plant are poisonous. Human symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. If one comes in contact with the plant skin will turn red and swell.
I was surprised when I learned it was poisonous, all parts poisonous. Do I really want this near my garden? This little plant has some explaining to do.
When checking sources, some touted benefits from the plant and others called it an invasive weed. It appears that the jury is out, I could come up with no information of reliable testing if this plant can repel pests or not. Yet, it seems to be working for me.
For the time being, I have decided to keep one single plant, well groomed and pod-less, at the edge of the garden where it is away from visitors and pets. You can bet that if I even sense a mole in the area, that plant is getting pulled out immediately and I’ll be back to trapping.