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Products > Euphorbia caput-medusae
 
Euphorbia caput-medusae - Medusa's Head
   
Image of Euphorbia caput-medusae
 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurges)
Origin: South Africa (Africa)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: White
Bloomtime: Spring/Summer
Height: <1 foot
Width: 2-3 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Summer Dry: Yes
Deer Tolerant: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 15-20 F
May be Poisonous  (More Info): Yes
Euphorbia caput-medusae (Medusa's Head) - This unique South African native succulent has a central tap-rooted caudex to 8 inches wide from which emerge numerous snake-like gray-green bumpy-textured branches to 3+ feet long with a knobbed terminal end where small deciduous leaves are produced. White flowers bloom on short stalks rising from the ends of young branches in the spring and summer. It can reach about a foot high with a 3 foot spread. It prefers full coastal sun to light shade in a well-drained soil. Irrigate little to occasionally - it is drought tolerant. It is hardy to about 23 degrees F. Long trailing branches can get bleached out in summer in hot locations and the plant can be rejuvenated every few years by cutting back. Tolerates near-beach conditions and is great for a low groundcover on slopes in the succulent garden and also makes a very interesting container plant. This plant comes from Namaqualand and the southwestern Cape of South Africa, where it grows on sandy and stony slopes. It was first introduced into Europe at the Botanic Garden in Amsterdam around 1700. The name 'caput-medusae' meaning "head of Medusa" was fittingly coined by Carl Linnaeus in 1753 to in reference to the Greek mythological daughter of sea god Phorcys who had serpents for hair.  The information about Euphorbia caput-medusae 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.
 
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