Thursday, October 23, 2014

Euphorbia-Not Just Poinsettias

Euphorbia francoisii
I have to say, I am enamoured with Euphorbias. I do like poinsettias, but I'm not referring to them. There are so many more kinds of Euphorbia and I have quite a few. The Euphorbias I'm talking about today are from Madagascar primarily and they are very interesting plants. I have all 5 of them on my West kitchen windowsill. This is reserved for my favorite plants and of course they have to be small enough to fit there, too. 

 
Euphorbia francoisii up close. 
This first one I bought at the Phipps Conservatory in August of 2011. It has at least tripled in size since then, which isn't much. It is a slow grower. 

Euphorbia francoisii with spiky stems
Euphorbia francoisii flowers


Euphorbia suzannae x bupleurifolia
I bought this Euphorbia above at the Root System Nursery in Michigan. I don't know much about it. I think it looks like a little pine cone with green leaves on top.  It would fit  on the windowsill with the other Euphorbias, so I bought it. Works for me....
Euphorbia suzannae x bupleurifolia

 

Then next one I bought when I was lucky enough to go to Glasshouse Works in Stewart, Ohio in 2007. This is the plant that started the collection. My daughter's college soccer team was playing near Stewart and since I was only about 30 minutes away, I went. I asked the girls if they wanted to go. I had no takers-big surprise. This one has grown quite a bit, but it is still only about 4" across. The caudex is getting a lot bigger. ( A caudiciform is a plant with a swollen, water-storing stem (caudex))

Euphorbia cylindrifolia tuberifera flower (with dust...embarrassingly enough)


Euphorbia decaryi var decaryi

These next two look a lot alike but were bought at the same place and had different tags. The decaryi is more prostrate than the cap saint mariensis, but I'm not sure it will stay that way. I love the wrinkled leaves on both of them.
Euphorbia decaryi var decaryi

Euphorbia cap saint mariensis
Euphorbia cap saint mariensis


This small statured plant comes from the Cap Sainte Marie peninsula at the southern tip of Madagascar, thus the name.
Euphorbia leuconeura
Euphorbia leuconeura


This Euphorbia leuconeura or Madagascar Jewel, can get very large, but seems to be a pretty slow grower. As it loses its leaves the leaf scar that is left is very pronounced and adds character to the plant. I've read that it can grow to 5' tall, but mine is just a baby at about 10". Mine has not flowered yet, but I'm not losing hope. It disperses its seeds by shooting them out away from itself. It also can take quite a bit of shade as in its native habita in Madagascar, it grows in forests.

I hope you learned something about Euphorbias that aren't  poinsettias. Maybe you didn't even know poinsettias are Euphorbias, in which case you learned a couple of things today.