Wednesday, August 4, 2010

In Praise of Succulents: Euphorbia edition

In a post from last November, called An Unexpected Favorite, I shared my thoughts on my largest Euphorbia lactea. I also mentioned that I find Euphorbias in general fascinating, and a little scary, what with their often vicious spines and equally vicious (and viscous) sap. But I delight in their dangerousness, not unlike girls who go for bad boys. And like certain so-called bad boys, who are real sweethearts once you get them home, these have all been a pleasure to have around the house.

The Euphorbia lactea that I wrote about previously. The non-crested portion of the plant continues to grow at a much more rapid pace than the crest. I have finally noticed some growth in the crest this summer.

Another view of the same plant on the porch along with the NoId Euphorbia I wrote about last week, and two small crested E. lactea. At least I think the pinkish one is an E. lactea.

Euphorbia milii. There are two different varieties in one pot. As seen here, the variety with the darker, more rounded leaves has pink flowers. The plant with the longer paler leaves has bi-colored flowers that are predominately yellow.

Known in my household as the "Evil Pointy Plant of Death" my Euphorbia tortirama, here and below, is currently in bloom.
I took particular delight in taking some pictures of Euphorbias during my last few trips to the Chicago Botanic Gardens:

Euphorbia abyssinica variegata, the full plant in all its convoluted glory above, and a closeup below.

I'm sorry that I didn't note the name of this species, but I love its variegation, which can be seen more easily here below. The flowers in both pictures are from a nearby Aloe. Edited to Add 9/9/10: I saw the tag today. The plant is Euphorbia pseudocactus.

Last, and certainly not least, is a Euphorbia lactea crest that puts my little plants to shame.

Of course, I haven't had 100 percent success with Euphorbias; I've lost both Euphorbia obesa and Euphorbia suzannae in the past. But those small setbacks have left me eager to try both again in the future.


Julie said...

That pink E. lactea is indeed a lactea! These are some awesome euphorbia specimens!!! I really love your twisted pointy evil euphorbia! WOW...I want one of those for sure now!!!

CactusMcHarris said...


I seen your taste in Euphorbias is as good as your taste in plants in general.

It's a pity, but when I grew plants in San Diego, I took nary an interest in succulent Euphorbias - I thought I was too busy with other things, but I should have had at least one or two.

Now, if necessary, I can arrange it (I think I still have the connections) but don't you grow Aeonium lindleyii? The juice of its crushed leaves is the answer to a Euphorbia sap burn if you're hurtin'. I myself had not had the (dis)pleasure to have to use it, but my friend (a former nurseryman) got burned with Euphorbia abdelkuri sap (supposedly one of the worst) and the juice had an immediately palliative affect on the affected area.

Anyway, lovely article, thanks for sharing, and if you're into more good-looking bad boys of succulents, check out GardenWeb C&S Forum and search for some posts by lzddr - he's got some outstanding specimens he's posted pictures of.

Candy "Sweetstuff" said...

Wow, great looking Euphorbia's. I lost a really great one last winter. It had gotten so tall that we could not fit it through the garage door into the warmth of the garage. I love your crested plants. They can be very hard to find so good for you. That twisted evil one is so cool! LOL