According to Wikipedia, Euphorbia is the fourth largest genus of flowering plants which consists of around 2000 species. What really amazing are the different looks of those large species. Some look like cactus with no leaves at all, but others look like succulents, small bushes with pretty colourful leaves and unusual flowers. Others are twiggy , spiky and thorny, while the rest are trees. Even the Christmas Poinsettia is included in the Euphorbia family (Euphorbia pulcherrima). The only similarity of them all is that they are all sappy and poisonous. When handling the plants, great care must be taken by avoiding sap to have contact with skin or eyes.
All Euphorbia plants need to grow in well drain soil and can stand high temperature and dry condition. They are very suitable to grow in arid areas. While the plants are happiest in warm weather, many can stand cold weather as well.
Our two Euphorbia plants which are commonly known as ‘spurge’ are small low growing bush that will grow and spread much less than 1 meter. The E. martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has colourful variegated foliage and during the winter the leaves will grow redder. The other one E. amygdaloides ‘Craigieburn’ has deep plum leaves with red tips of the new growth. Both have greenish flowers that look quite unusual. Both will grow happily in any type of soil as long as it is well drain. A bit of complete fertilizer during the growing months in spring plus a tonic of seaweed tea will surely make them happy. A sunny spot is needed and after the plants have established, they will need very little care and can withstand high temperature, dry condition and frost. As both plants will grow low and compact, they don’t need pruning. Just cut away the spent flowers.
This morning while mowing the lawn, I noticed that both the spurge Euphorbia plants are in flower. The strangest little flowers that I have ever seen. It is hard to tell which ones are the petals, sepals, anthers, stamens etc. as they look kind of different from most other flowers. The Ascot Rainbow has green yellow flowers. The inside which I am not sure what is red. While the Craigieburn flowers are green and maroon colours. Very different from the other one. Though they look very odd, they are very pretty.
Note September 1, 2014: Just changed some of the images as the previous ones were taken from an incomplete flower, one of the stigma was missing.
Euphorbia martini ‘Ascot Rainbow’:
Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Craigieburn’:
Update: These 2 plants died for no apparent reasons. They were supposed to tolerate drought!!!