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Origin and Habitat: Euphorbia lactea grows wild, in tropical Asia. Widely cultivated in west Indies, Florida and in many tropical areas world wide. Widely escaped from cultivation and in many places forming dense thickets.
Euphorbia lactea Haw.
Syn. Pl. Succ. 127 (-128). 1812
Euphorbia lactea f. cristata variegata (coloured clones)
Accepted name in llifle Database:
Euphorbia lactea f. cristata
ENGLISH: Candle-stick tree, Caper Spurge, Cactus Candelabre, Candelabra Cactus, Candelabra spurge, Dragon bones, Dragoon bones tree
Description: Euphorbia lactea cv. Gigante is a tall, larger stemmed form of Euphorbia lactea, otherwise it is very similar to the standard species. It has yellowish-green, many-branched stems, with distinctive silhouette that grow up to over 3-6 m tall (or more) but rarely does in cultivation.
Stems: Erect, approx 5-8 cm in diameter, constricted into oblong green segments. Centre of the segments pale often with lime green marbled marking.
Ribs: 3 strongly winged, thin, sinuate.
Leaves: It has only the tiniest hint of leaves at the growing tips in summer. The leaves are rudimentary, circular, reddish, up to 3 mm in diameter, sessile, deciduous,
Spines: Stipular spines tiny but sharp, paired, widely divergent along the margins, 2-6 mm long.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Euphorbia lactea group
- Euphorbia lactea Haw.: It is a tall, many-branched, shrub, with distinctive silhouette that grow up to over 3-6 m tall. The branches are 3-sided, markedly banded with very ornamental whitish and green marbled marking.
- Euphorbia lactea f. cristata variegata (coloured clones): There are several and variously coloured crested forms mainly selected by Asian growers.
- Euphorbia lactea f. cristata: Classical green crested form.
- Euphorbia lactea cv. Gigante: Large stemmed form.
- Euphorbia lactea cv. White Ghost: With nearly white stems.
Euphorbia lactea cv. Gigante Photo by: Valentino Vallicelli
The gallery now contains thousands of pictures, however it is possible to do even more. We are, of course, seeking photos of species not yet shown in the gallery but not only that, we are also looking for better pictures than those already present. Read More...
Cultivation and Propagation: Euphorbia lactea is only hardy to maybe 5° C and most grow it either in pots (excellent potted plant) or plant it in very protected locations. Euphorbia lactea being from a tropical climate, it is one of the few columnar Euphorbias that do exceptionally well in very wet, humid climates. It need bright light to partial shade for best appearance (but the variegated forms do best if protected from strong sunshine in the hottest hours of the day). It responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late spring and summer months. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch during active growing season (more than once a week during hot weather) In the winter months, waterigs should be suspended or restricted to once over the winter. The most common failure in growing this plant is over watering, especially during the winter months. Likes porous soil with adequate drainage. Succulent Euphorbias in greenhouses apparently are seldom affected by fungous diseases.
The Ghost form can be badly burned in direct sunlight, though acclimating it to morning sun is not difficult. This is a slow growing plant, though the cristate forms seem particularly slow growing. Cristate forms are usually grown as grafted plants and that may have something to do with their slow growth rate.
Propagation: It is propagated by cuttings, while the variegated and crested forms are difficult to grow on their own roots, and are generally grafted for convenience on Euphorbia canariensis or Euphorbia resinifera.
It is recommend taking Euphorbia cuttings in Spring/Summer when the plant is growing so that they have a better chance of success. They key is heat & good air circulation. These cuttings should be dipped in Hormone powder (but it is not needed) and left for a period of 3-4 weeks to callous. Then pot the cutting and don't water ( or kept slightly moist) until rooted. These will root just fine, if you can put the pot outside in the summer, or put pot on a heating pad.
Warning: As with all other Euphorbias when a plant get damaged it exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This latex is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. So pay extreme attention not to get any in your eyes or mouth. Cultivated plants must be handled carefully.
Uses:It is a fency plant that makes very thick-set hedges, it is also used in traditional medicine against, in warts and tumor.
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