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Products > Euphorbia mauritanica
Euphorbia mauritanica - Pencil Milkbush
Image of Euphorbia mauritanica
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Winter/Spring
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 4-6 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 25-30 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Euphorbia mauritanica (Pencil Milkbush) - A much branched spineless dome shaped succulent shrub to 3 to 4 feet tall by nearly twice as wide with a central basal stem from which arise cylindrical stems that are pencil-thin. The new growth has lime-green stems with tiny lanceolate leaves that disappear to leave only the leaf scars on the otherwise smooth stems that turn a gray-green with age. In later winter to early spring appear the showy bright yellow cyathia (the cup-shaped fused bracts surrounding a Euphorbia flower) held in a compact 1 inch wide clusters group at the branch tips. Plant in full sun to light shade in a well draining soil and water occasionally to infrequently. Cold hardy to around 25F. This is a very attractive plant in the mediterranean climate or succulent garden with cheery late winter flowers. Be wary of cutting or breaking this plant and place back from the pathways as the white latex of this plant as it is a severe eye irritant. As it is a poisonous plant it has also proven to be resistant to predation by deer, rabbits and gophers. This plant occurs extensively throughout the Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in Namibia. This is the most widely distributed of all the South African shrubby euphorbias. Pencil Milkbush is found throughout most of southern Africa and is particularly common in the Succulent Karroo, where it can be the dominant plant in some areas and is also found in Northern Cape, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and in Namibia. The name for the genus is derived from Euphorbus, the Greek physician of King Juba II of Numidia and later of Mauritania. In 12 B.C. King Juba named a cactus-like plant he found in the Atlas Mountains after his physician and later Carl Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbia to the entire genus. The origin of the specific epithet is an interesting story and was caused by the mistaken belief that the plant came from the area called Mauretania in North Africa. 

This information about Euphorbia mauritanica displayed on this web page is based on research we have conducted in our horticultural library and from reliable online resources. We also will relate observations we have made about it as it grows in our nursery gardens and other gardens visited, as well how our crops have performed in containers in the nursery field. Where appropriate, we will also incorporate comments that we receive from others and we welcome hearing from anyone with additional information, particularly if they can share cultural information that would aid others in growing this plant.