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Products > Euphorbia antisyphilitica
 
Euphorbia antisyphilitica - Candelilla
   

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 3-5 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 10-15° F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candelilla) An upright growing leafless succulent about 2 feet tall that spreads slowly by suckering from the base to form large clumps with narrow round stems that are a gray-green color. In late winter on into spring this plant flowers along the stems with small white flowers that have red centers but flowering in irrigated gardens can happen anytime from late winter to fall. Plant in full sun (shade grown plants are taller, less gray and more lax) in a well-drained soil. Hardy to around 10 °F (USDA Zone 8a). This plant is tolerant of hot dry conditions (even reflected heat) and alkaline soils. The interesting color of its stems are due to them being coated with a gray wax that slows water loss from the stems, an adaptation to its native habitat in the Chihuahuan desert where it can be found in south-west New Mexico east into Texas and south into Mexico. There are a lot of uses for this plant other than for its attraction in the garden. The common name Candelilla, meaning “little candle” is from the use of the this waxy substance as a high quality wax after the stems are boiled and the substance extracted. It also has been used in the past for medical purposes, including its possible use in the treatment of syphilis, which gives the plant its specific epithet. The dried stems are also used as fuel and in some parts of Mexico, the over-harvesting of Euphorbia antisyphilitica has made it scarce. The name Candelilla is also occasionally used for another Euphorbia relative, Pedilanthus macrocarpus. The sap from this plant is irritating so avoid contact with it.  This description is based on research and observations of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in our nursery garden and in other gardens that we visit. We also incorporate comments received and appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have any additional information about this plant, particularly if they disagree with what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Euphorbia antisyphilitica.
 
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