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Sap is irritating or poisonous

Euphorbia cyparissias

Cypress Spurge
Ground covers, Perennials


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. 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 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 cyparissias

European native forms feathery clump to 8 in. (possibly to 16 in.) high; spreads vigorously by rhizomes, often becoming invasive. Slender, erect stems branch toward tips. Crowded blue-green, needlelike leaves. Terminal clusters of yellow-green flowers appear in late spring to early summer; these may turn orange in poor soils. Plant may go dormant in winter.

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