Euphorbia

 In Category Cactus

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Habitat: Africa and Madagascar (for succulent species)
Cultivation: Euphorbia are very strong plants that need limited care. It is difficult to give a uniform cultivation view of the many existing varieties, but it is generally advisable to choose an exposure in full sun and high temperatures.
Curiosity: The Euforbia contain a poisonous latex that makes them, for example, dangerous for pets and very young children. Many of them are used in the pharmaceutical field.

Euphorbia Key Features

The Euphorbia genus includes a large number of plants, about 2,000, some of which are grassy, ​​other woody, not just succulent: for example, Euphorbie has many herbaceous or bushy plants typical of Mediterranean scrub, as well as flowering plants such as Euphorbia pulcherrima, best known as Christmas Star.

Even with only succulent plants, however, we have a very wide variety: many resemble columnar or round cactus, others have totally different shapes – such as small shrubs.

Almost always are hermaphrodite plants. Inflorescence, although it may have the most disparate aspects, has a peculiar structure. It is said to be a vetch and contains in itself a female flower and some male flowers, but it  only simulates one: the feminine flower is centrally located and has a pistil, while the male flowers are reduced to one single stamen and surround the pistil . In practice, the vetch resembles a hermaphrodite flower, but it distinguishes itself as it is a complete inflorescence surrounded by bratheas that aesthetically form a cup remembering the appearance of petals. The peculiarity of vetch is such as to justify the classification of so different species for appearance and origin within the same genus.

VARIETIES AND TYPES

As we have already said, over 2,000 species of Euphorbia , coming from very different climates and with equally differentiated forms, form an impressive heterogeneous set, kept together by anatomical peculiarities such as the presence of vetch. Only succulent or semi-succulent species are about 300; by limiting them to the latter, here are a list of the main ones.

We remind you that  you can find them in our online shop, in the section dedicated to Euphorbia.

  • Euphorbia abyssinica 
  • E. ammak 
  • E. antiquorum 
  • E. avasmontana 
  • E. balsamifera
  • E. bupleurifolia 
  • E. canariensis 
  • E. clava 
  • E. columnaris 
  • E. coerulescens
  • E. cooperi 
  • E. decaryi 
  • E. decidua 
  • E. enopla 
  • E. erythraea forma mostruosa cristata
  • E. erythraea variegata 
  • E. ferox 
  • E. ferox forma cristata 
  • E. fruticosa
  • E. globosa
  • E. grandialata 
  • E. grandicornis 
  • E. gymnocalycioides 
  • E. halipedicola 
  • E. horrida
  • E. horrida ‘monstrosa’ 
  • E. horrida hybrid
  • E. infausta 
  • E. intisy var. mainty 
  • E. lactea 
  • E. lactea cv. WHITE GHOST 
  • E. lactea “gigantea”
  • E. lactea forma cristata 
  • E. lactea forma cristata variegata
  • E. ledienii
  • E. ledienii forma cristata 
  • E. lophogona 
  • E. mammillaris 
  • E. mammillaris forma variegata 
  • E. meloformis
  • E. meloformis forma crsitata 
  • E. mitriformis (dwarf form) 
  • E. obesa 
  • E. obesa “caespitosa” 
  • E. obesa cristata
  • E. obesa “prolifera” 
  • E. obesa “polytomica” 
  • E. obesa ssp. symmetrica 
  • E. pentagona
  • E. piscidermis
  • E. piscidermis forma cristata 
  • E. poissonii 
  • E. pseudoglobosa 
  • E. pseudocactus 
  • E. pugniformis
  • E. pugniformis forma cristata 
  • E. pulvinata
  • E. resinifera 
  • E. shoenlandii 
  • E. submammillaris
  • E. susannae
  • E. susannae f. variegata cristata
  • E. susannae forma lutea 
  • E. valida 
  • E. turbiniformis forma cristata
  • E. waringiae

TIPS FOR CULTIVATION

Euphorbia are very strong plants that need limited care. Although with all the limits due to the vastness of the genus, here are a number of tips and indications for cultivation that will be useful for almost all succulent species:

  • It is recommended to place it in full sun or  very bright location, especially during the vegetative period.
  • Temperature should remain above  5-8 ° C for subtropical species and 10-15 ° C for tropical.
  • Watering must be abundant but not very frequent: between the watering the soil must be let completely dry. Species with a succulent stem have, of course, the need for less watering. For almost all succulent species, in winter  the watering can be suspended.
  • It is recommended a light and sandy soil.
  • Fertilization may be poor, usually with products rich in phosphorous and potassium but poor in nitrogen.
  • For repotting, pay attention to the  actual need of the plant space, with very different needs depending on the species.
  • The reproduction of the Euphorbia can occur either by the cuttings or by the seed. The cuttings are generally used; since the plant contains latex, once get the cutting it must be washed with warm water (to allow the latex to flow away). After that, let the wound dry then replant the cutting but it can take a very long time even up to a month. As for the seeds, however, it will be necessary to check if your Euphorbia species is autofertile. If yes, the seeds will be available each season.
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