Euphorbia phillipsioides


No synonyms are recorded for this name.


E. phillipsioides is native to Somalia. Its habitats are stony, rocky limestone flat areas, in wattle bushlands at an altitude of 1300-1500 meters above sea level.


Euphorbia phillipsioides is a small, perennial plant, about 5-15 centimeters tall, very similar to an actual cacti. It consists in a cluster of cylindrical stems divided in ribs and equipped in spines like the ones of cacti. Unlike cacti, however, E. phillipsioides doesn’t have areoles (the typical button-shaped white buds of cacti, from which the spines grow, that are an important distinctive feature of the family Cactaceae). In E. phillipsioides, branches are erect and quite slender, 1-2,5 centimeter in diameter, coloured in green or, more often, in greyish-black. The spines are grey, thick, arranged in pairs, each teeth of the couple pointing in the opposite direction, lined up all along the stem. Flowers are numerous and odd like in every Euphorbia: they aren’t grouped in inflorescences but instead grow solitary, lined up on the ribs and made up of a tubular corolla divided in 6 lobes, coloured in brownish-orange, with a yellow central button.


Euphorbia phillipsioides is a very strong plant that need little care. Here below are our cultivation tips:

Place your E. phillipsioides in full sun or anyway very bright location, especially during the vegetative period. It can tolerate light shade. However, if you move your plant under direct sunlight, don’t do it to suddenly: it needs to carry out a gradual adaptation to direct sunlight; unless, there’s the risk of stem scorching.
E. phillipsioides is from Somalia, and thus is a tropical Euphorbia. Tropical Euphorbias require a minimum temperature of 10-15°C. We suggest to keep it indoors in Winter, or either to shelter it when cold approaches.
Water abundantly but not so frequently, always waiting for the substrate to dry up completely before each watering. E. phillipsioides, being equipped with a succulent stem, can still be satisfied with less water: once a week in Summer will be enough. In Autumn, gradually decrease watering frequency until stopping to water completely in Winter.
It is recommended a light and sandy soil, as long as it’s well drained and equipped with a remarkable mineral part.
Fertilize once a year, diluting the product with water at half the doses recommended on the label, using products rich in phosphorous and potassium but poor in nitrogen.
Regarding repotting, pay attention to the actual need for space of the plant. Repot anytime you see that E. phillipsioides outgrows the space for its pot.


Propagation of E. phillipsioides can be made either by the cuttings or by the seed. Beware of the latex that comes off the cut stem: it is toxic! Anytime you take off a cutting, first of all wash it with warm water. Then, let the wound dry up until finally planting the cutting in a well-draining substrate. E. phillipsioides is autofertile and produce seeds that can be used for the reproduction.


Euphorbias 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.

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