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EUPHORBIA grandicornis

Image of Euphorbia grandicornis

James H. Schutte

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

EUPHORBIA grandicornis

Plant Common Name

Cow's Horn

Special Notice

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

General Description

Very long and formidable thorns is what distinguishes this large branching succulent shrub from the other nearly identical species. It is a native of the moist eastern coast of South Africa in the state of Natal, homeland of the Zulu. The plants can be found in the bush hill country where soils are rich and well drained. This great succulent produces multiple branching from the base, with some of the outer limbs forced along the ground where they are inclined to root. The central branches are more upright, but sit at a slight angle for a more irregular character. Very thin paired thorns, each the length of a man’s thumb nail line the extruded margins of each vertical segment. The abundance of long thorns give this species significant armor against browsers in the dry season.

This euphorbia blooms in late spring to summer. Its flowers, known as cyathia, are produced between spine pairs on newer growth, restricting them largely to the branch tips. These pea sized yellow blooms are followed by three angled fruits which take on a subtle rose coloring with maturity. This species does very well in ground with good drainage in a frost free climate where individuals can reach great size. It makes an equally fine container specimen to move into protected location for the winter. While it may grow in full sun in the wild, Natal experiences a marked maritime influence, and therefore sunburn may result from intense desert sunlight. There it is best to plant where protected from afternoon exposure in the midsummer months, particularly in the low desert.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    14 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    South Africa

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

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Rose

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Bark Color

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No