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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 A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Euphorbia obesa

Baseball Plant
Euphorbiaceae
Cacti and succulents, Perennials

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 obesa (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)
Euphorbia obesa (photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens)

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Euphorbia obesa

Succulent perennial in Zone 24, or indoor/outdoor plant. South African native forms a solid, fleshy, gray-green sphere (or short cylinder) to 8 in., with brownish horizontal stripes and brown dots that outline vertical ridges. Flowers are unimportant. Give bright light, warmth, no sudden temperature changes. Little to moderate water; keep dryish in winter.

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