Euphorbia (yew-FOR-bee-uh)


Relatives: Spurge, Poinsettia, Croton

Euphorbia is a huge family (as in about 2,000 plants!) that is quite diverse and is commonly referred to as Spurge. You've actually seen or heard of some of the better known Euphorbia plant members like Crown of Thorns and Poinsettias! Euphorbias from the deserts of Southern Africa and Madagascar have evolved over thousands of years to have quite unique physical characteristics and are often (although incorrectly) referred to as cacti. Euphorbia antiquorum is the type species for the genus Euphorbia, and was first described by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 in his publication Species Plantarum. All these plants share the unique feature of having a poisonous, milky, white latex-like sap, as well as a most unusual and unique floral structure.

Because Euphorbia have adapted to grow in a variety of locations and climates, they can be found in all shapes and sizes and have varying care requirements. However, most succulent species have similar requirements to most of our other succulents - high light, gritty, well draining soil, and deep but infrequent watering. Euphorbia can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings - just be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin from the sap.