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EUPHORBIA antisyphilitica

Image of Euphorbia antisyphilitica

James H. Schutte

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

EUPHORBIA antisyphilitica

Plant Common Name

Candelilla

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

This fine textured succulent thrives in the world’s driest places, offering a unique component to desert landscape design. While the majority of Euphorbia species are native to southern Africa, this is a rare example of a New World plant. Its range is limited, from Texas south into Mexico, preferring rises and low foothill locations where soils are poor and drainage is extreme. The plant is composed of slender pale green stems narrower in diameter than a pencil, growing knee high. These stems stand like a dense mass with tiny leaves produced only on the new growth, then these soon become drought deciduous. Over time a single individual can spread into a large colony by underground rhizomes. In Mexico it is known as candelilla due to the waxy coating on the stems that is harvested to make candles in rural areas.

Candelilla is among the desert plants that flower immediately after rain events in the warm season. This is due to isolated monsoonal thunderstorms that occur during the summer in its dry habitat. Just after rainfall, tiny pink and white flowers bloom in clusters along the stem tips. They may rebloom numerous times over a long season to exploit rare moisture events. This plant is not cold hardy, which limits its use further north and at higher elevations of the intermountain West. It is an exceptional choice for low desert gardens with other extremely heat and drought resistant plants. Elsewhere, it has proven a beautiful accent plant for well drained clay pots that may be moved to protection in winter.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 9

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 13

  • Sunset Zone

    23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    18"-36" / 45.7cm - 91.4cm

  • Width

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring

  • Native To

    Texas, Mexico

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Very Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No