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Euphorbia misera (Cliff Spurge)


Scientific Name

Euphorbia misera Benth.

Common Names

Cliff Spurge


Euphorbia benedicta, Trichosterigma benedictum, Trichosterigma miserum

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia


This species is native to southern California and Baja California.


Euphorbia misera is a succulent shrub, up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall, with erect or ascending, branched stems with grayish-red to light gray bark. Leaves are dull green, hairy, rounded, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. It is common for leaves to drop in the summer. Flowers are hairy, yellowish, or white with yellow to red centers and appear in spring on inflorescences at the tips of the branches. The fruits are lobed, spherical capsules with gray, round, wrinkled seeds.

The specific epithet "misera" derives from a Latin word meaning "poor or wretched" and probably refers to the appearance of the plant when it will drop the leaves.

How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia misera

Light: Most Euphorbias are sun lovers, but some will tolerate partial shade. Place your indoor Euphorbias on windows with southern or southeastern exposure.

Soil: Euphorbias require well-drained soil. They even thrive in poor, dry soils. Use a commercial mixture formulated for cacti and succulents or make your own potting mix.

Hardiness: Euphorbia misera can withstand temperatures as low as 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C), USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b.

Watering: Succulent Euphorbias can survive drought, but do not mean that they need it. From spring to fall, water when the top inch of soil feels dry. Reduce watering in winter, give them just enough water to prevent wilting.

Fertilizing: Every Euphorbia will benefit from fertilizer. Apply a balanced fertilizer in a 10-10-10 NPK formulation, diluted to 1/4 strength once a week during the growing season.

Repotting: Euphorbias do not need to be repotted every year. When your Euphorbia is outgrowing its pot, it is time to repot the plant in a larger pot and give it a fresh potting mix.

Propagation: The easiest and fastest method of propagation for many species is by using cuttings. Euphorbias can also be grown from seeds, but they can be difficult to germinate, even hard to find.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.

Toxicity of Euphorbia misera

All Euphorbias produce a white milky sap that is toxic and can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. It is best to keep the plants away from children and pets.


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