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EUPHORBIA horrida

Image of Euphorbia horrida

John Rickard

Family

Euphorbiaceae

Botanical Name

EUPHORBIA horrida

Plant Common Name

African Milk Barrel

Special Notice

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

General Description

Modern designers love the silver metallic sheen of this unusual, rock hard succulent, which is also a favorite of collectors. It is native to very steep rocky terrain in coastal South Africa where plants often nestle into boulders to tap moisture protected underground. What makes this plant so fabulous is its silvery coloring, which remains consistent year around. Its spherical form with many angled edges resembles a true cactus, bearing modest black or gray thorns the length of a thumbnail. The juvenile sphere gradually elongates with age while producing offsets to create a large mature clump.

This plant develops flowering eyes along its many sharp vertical ridges. These bear short flower stalks, much like spines topped with small yellow flowers. These mature into tiny brick red fruits. Each flowering eye may later bear a large spine or group of them, which is formed from the now sterile stalk. This species does very well in rock garden conditions with good drainage in a frost-free climate where individuals can reach great size. However, it is almost always grown in wide shallow containers such as a bonsai pot, with very porous mineral soil in bright light. This euphorbia may be treated as a conservatory specimen or window sill plant Move outdoors for a summer table top garden or as a patio plant provided it is not subjected to frequent summer rains. In low desert conditions or high altitude, keep lightly shaded to prevent disfiguring sunburn.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 10

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    14 - 15

  • Plant Type

    Cactus or Succulent

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-24" / 30.5cm - 61.0cm

  • Width

    5"-18" / 12.7cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    South Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Xeric/Desert, Drought Tolerant

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Dark Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Silver

  • 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

    No

  • 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