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EUPHORBIA ammak

Image of Euphorbia ammak

James H. Schutte

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

EUPHORBIA ammak

Plant Common Name

Spurge

General Description

This remarkable tree-sized, branching succulent is a coveted landscape plant in arid, frost free regions. Originating from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, it is common in southern Africa where it was introduced long ago by traders, but is now listed as a threatened species in its native habitat.

Forming a branched, candelabra-like outline, this thorny succulent superficially resembles a cactus, but is not actually related to them. Its needle-like barbs are borne on vertical ridges that divide its upright branches into four or five segments. The thick stems are filled with copious amounts of white latex sap that is unpalatable to large herbivores, who decline from browsing upon its moisture-rich limbs. In spring, mature plants produce clusters of dull yellow flowers at the tips of the branches, which subsequently mature into small, green fruits.

For best performance, provide this plant with full sun and sharply-drained, lean soil. Requiring very little water, it is not tolerant of wet conditions, particularly during winter. Where not hardy, it may be grown in a container to be moved indoors during winter. A potting soil cut with sharp sand will ensure adequate drainage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    13 - 15

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Width

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring

  • Native To

    Southern Asia, Western Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Rock Garden / Wall, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No