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Euphorbia pulvinata (Pincushion Euphorbia)


Scientific Name

Euphorbia pulvinata Marloth

Common Names

Pincushion Euphorbia

Scientific Classification

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


Euphorbia pulvinata is a low-growing and clumping succulent with short, globose to columnar stems. The most common form has up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall stems, while the taller form has up to 3.3 feet (1 m) tall stems. The stems are 7 or 8 (occasionally up to 10) angled with numerous branches from the base. Leaves are linear-lanceolate, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. Spines are white to purple, depending on the season, and up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) long. Flowers are dark red-purple. In the male plants, they are up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, while in the female plants, they are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. Fruits are 3-angled capsules up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter.

Euphorbia pulvinata - Pincushion Euphorbia

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USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Euphorbias are very easy to care for plants. They require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. In fact, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect.

Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerate wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don't let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly. See more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.


Native to South Africa (Natal) and Lesotho.


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