Euphorbia enopla


Euphorbia enopla var. enopla
Euphorbia enopla var. viridis


 Euphorbia enopla is native to South Africa, in particular from the South-western regions of the country.


Euphorbia enopla is an ornamental succulent plant that can reach 1 meter in height. It looks like a cacti but it’s not: it belongs in fact to the family of Euphorbiaceae. What can confuse one is its red spines and its cylindrical branches, erect and arranged in the candelabra-shaped pattern typical of cacti. Branches are 2-3 centimeters thick and 20-30 in length, erect or markedly curved upwards, very crowded and starting from the very base of the plant. Like in cacti as well, the branches have ribs: 6 to 8 in number for each stem and provided with slighly pronounced tubercles. Spines are erect and very noticeable, and they crowd and become stouther, longer and thicker at the top of the stems. Their length goes from 1 to 6 centimeters. The flowers of Euphorbia enopla and of every Euphorbia is called “cyathium”. A cyathium is a form of false flower hallmarked by bracts (modified leaves forming a cup-like involucre), up to 10 prominent nectar glands, reduced female flowers standing in the centre of the structure and surrounded by five groups (one for each bract) of reduced male flowers. The cyathia, in E. enopla, are borne at the top of the spines and appears, at a glance, as tiny rounded yellow buttons. The male cyathia are borne on solitary peduncles, up to 2.5 centimeters long, while the female ones are shorter and equipped with 4 to 6 dark red bracts, up to 0.5 centimeters in diameter. After withering, they are replaced by globose fruits.


Euphorbia enopla is not difficult to grow. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Place it in full sun if grown indoors. Different clones show variable tolerance to direct sunlight, so we advise to provide some shade, for safety, at least during the hottest hours of Summer days. If grown in light shade, in fact, their spines end up in showing the best colour.
The minimum temperature tolerate by this species is 4ºC. We advise to keep it indoors in Winter, to stay safe, and keep it away from Winter rains.
You can water moderately all year round, as in its native habitat it rains all throughout the year. Suspend the irrigation during the coldest months of the year.
Choose a well-drained substrate, rich in minerals and poor in organic matter.
Fertilize once a year using a specific product for succulent, diluting it to half the doses written on the label.
Repotting should be carried out once a year, as Euphorbia enopla is a rapid grower and soon occupies all its available space on the pot.


The propagation of Euphorbia enopla is usually made by cuttings. Cut with a sharp knife at the base of a branch, immediately clean the white latex with warm water, wait for the wound to dry up for around a week and then lie down the cut branches on a sandy substrate to be maintained moist until the cuttings put roots. Be careful: the latex is poisonus and irritant, especially in sensitive body parts such as eyes or mucoses.


The common names of Euphorbia enopla include “Milk barrel”, for the abundant poisonous latex produced by its stem, and also “Pincushion Euphorbia”, for its long, stout spines.

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