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Products > Euphorbia aphylla
Euphorbia aphylla - Leafless Spurge

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  
Image of Euphorbia aphylla
[2nd Image]
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: Canary Islands (Atlantic Ocean)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Spring/Fall
Height: 2-3 feet
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 20-25 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Euphorbia aphylla (Leafless Spurge) - A slow growing evergreen succulent shrub that typically grows 1 to 2 feet tall but older plants can possibly reach to around 3 feet. It is densely branched with a short brownish corky trunk and pencil-like green stems that branch in whorls and have tiny scale-like leaves that fall off quickly after emerging, which makes the plant generally appear leafless. Yellow flowers (technically the cyathium) are clustered tightly at the branch tips starting in early spring and continuing with some flowers through fall, and consist of at central greenish flowers emerging from the cyathia surrounded by 3 to 5 small petal-like yellow nectar guides. Plant in full sun in a fairly well drained soil and irrigate infrequently to not at all. It has proven hardy to at least 25F and likely can withstand short duration temperatures a bit lower. It is a halophyte that is tolerant of salty and near seashore conditions. This is a great small tough shrub for the dry garden. It is is native to the Canary Islands and found on the north coast of largest island, Gran Canaria, where it is often found growing close to the ocean on coastal rocks and bluffs. It is also found in similar areas on the northwest and southern side of Tenerife and also on La Gomera. The French naturalist Pierre Marie Auguste Broussonet (1861-1807) initially described Euphorbia aphylla in his Elenchus Plantarum Horti Botanici Monspeliensis in 1804, but the its description was determined not to meet the standards for valid publication and the name was republished by Carl Ludwig von Willdenow in 1809, a couple years after Broussonet's death . For this reason the plant is correctly listed as Euphorbia aphylla Brouss. ex Willd. The specific epithet comes from the Greek words 'a' meaning "without" and 'phyllon' meaning "leaf" in reference to this plant being without leaves. Other common names include Milk Hedge and Candelabra Cactus. We thanks John Bleck for introducing us to this plant and allowing us to take cuttings from his nice specimen plant.  The information about Euphorbia aphylla displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.