Euphorbia milii f. lutea
Euphorbia bojeri var. mucronulata
Euphorbia splendens var. bojeri
Euphorbia splendens subsp. bojeri
Euphorbia milii f. lutea is native to Madagascar where the succulent grows on rocky soils. The plant can spread up to 1700 m of altitude. The plant is widespread also in many other countries like Bangladesh, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Haiti, India, Mexico Central, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and others.
Euphorbia milii f. lutea is a beautiful succulent, yellow-flowered form of Euphorbia milii belonging to the Euphorbiaceae botanical family. The plant has a semi-prostrate habit, branches from the base and can reach up to 1 m in diameter. The stem is cylindrical, fleshy, thick and can reach up to 1.8 m in height. The bark is greyish brown and is covered with many sharp grey spines. The leaves are alternate, spirally arranged, obovate to lanceolate, dark green to greyish green in color and fall during the summer in dry conditions. The leaves have straight and long stipular spines. Blooming occurs all year when conditions become favourable. Cyathia are the typical inflorescence of the Euphorbia, it is an inflorescence consisting of a cuplike cluster of modified leaves enclosing unisexual flowers. This species has small, bright yellow and rarely white cyathia normally being all male on some plants, or all female on others. Because there are male plant and female plant, cross pollination is required that is normally carried out by insect. The fruits are fleshy and red containing smooth grey seeds.
The plant grows very slowly but it easy to cultivate. The best sun-exposure is in bright place but is recommended to avoid direct sun-light in the hottest periods. Long exposure to direct sun-light can cause burns and burnt spots. The maximum resistance to cold is 8 °C so it is recommended not to expose the plant to lower temperatures Too low temperatures can cause the stem or leaves to break due to water freezing inside the tissues. Temperatures between 8 and 15 °C allow the plants to enter vegetative rest which is essential for the flowering of the following year. Plants should not be placed inside the house where average temperatures of 20 degrees prevent vegetative rest. The best draining soil for this genus is made up of 40% fertile loam, 40% pumice and 20% coarse sand. The pumice should always be placed on the bottom of the pot. Remember to use a perforating pot to drain excess water. Watering is very important for this species and should be done well. Irrigation is proportional to the size of the pot, the position and the season. In Spring and Summer the plant can be watered with a glass of water every 7-10 days; in Autumn it can be watered every two months. Decrease the amount of water if the plant is kept indoors or if the pot is smaller than 12 cm. If you want a faster and lush growth you can fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with the specific fertilizers for cacti; stop fertilizing throughout the winter. If the pot starts to be too small for the plant you can repot the plant in a pot 2 cm wider. Repotting should be done early in the growing season with fresh new potting soil; it is usually done every 3-4 years. Be careful to red spiders and mealy bugs.
The easiest and fast method of propagation is to use cuttings. By cutting you can make the cut during the spring and then let the cutting dry; after a few days the cut surface will dry and a callus will form, then place the cutting in a mixture of sand, soil and pumice. To increase the success of propagation you can make two or more cuttings at the same time. It is advisable to use rooting hormone at the base of the cut to energize root development. For cuttings it is recommended temperatures around 20 °C. Propagation by seed it is not recommended for this species because it is very slow. To fast the propagation, you can try to immerse the seeds in water for 1 day. Sow the seeds in a sandy loam and keep them in warm, humid conditions.
Species of the Euphorbiacee family normally if are damaged, exude a white milky sap, called latex. Many plants produce latex, but in the Euphorbiacee this latex is often poisonous and may irritate skin. The poisonousness is due to some alkaloids so it is best to keep the plants away from children or pets. The stems of the plant are used in Sudan to treat scorpion stings. The specific epithet honors Baron Milius, once Governor of Réunion who introduced this species into cultivation in France in 1821.
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