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Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ (photo courtesy of PlantHaven International, Inc.)
Euphorbia characias ‘Tasmanian Tiger’ (photo courtesy of PlantHaven International, Inc.)

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Zone
Zones 12, 13, 18-21
Full Sun
Full
Minimal Water
Minimal
Toxicity
Sap is irritating or posionous

Euphorbia antisyphilitica

Candelilla
Euphorbiaceae
Cacti and succulents, Shrubs

EUPHORBIA

Diverse genus of about 2,000 species, ranging from small flowery annuals to sculptural trees. The flower is technically a cyathium, consisting of fused bracts that form a cup around the much-reduced true flowers. Cyathia may appear singly or in clusters. In some cases, as with poinsettia (E. pulcherrima), additional bracts below provide most of the color. The fruit is usually a dry capsule that releases seeds explosively, shooting them up to several feet away. Many euphorbias are succulents; these often mimic cacti in appearance and are as diverse in form and size.

All euphorbias have milky white sap that is irritating on contact or toxic if ingested (degree of irritation or toxicity varies, depending on the species). Before using cut flowers in arrangements, dip stems in boiling water or hold in a flame for a few seconds to prevent sap bleed. All need well-drained soil.

Euphorbia antisyphilitica

Native to southwestern U.S., Mexico. Erect plant to 3 ft. high, spreading by underground stems. Cylindrical pale green stems are covered with wax used commercially in making candles. Inflorescence consists of red bracts and white petal-like appendages in a star shape. Good for rock gardens, containers. Withstands light frosts.

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