Euphorbia stenoclada Baill.
Euphorbia cirsiodes, Euphorbia stenoclada subsp. stenoclada, Tirucalia stenoclada
This species is native to native to Madagascar and the Mozambique Channel Islands (Europa Island). It grows in subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, and rocky areas.
Euphorbia stenoclada is a much-branched succulent shrub or small tree with leafless branches that bear alternate spines formed from modified branchlets. It grows up to 20 feet (6 m) tall and develops a thick trunk and a flat-topped crown of olive-green wax-coated branches. The trunk is up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter and covered with rough bark. Spines are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long. The branches terminate in tightly packed clusters of tiny crimson cyathia in spring. Fruits are green, lightly hairy subglobose capsules that grow about 0.25 inches (0.6 cm) in diameter.
The specific epithet "stenoclada (sten-oh-KLAD-uh)" means "narrow-branched" and refers to the short spine-tipped branches. It is a compound of two Ancient Greek words, the adjective "stenós," meaning "narrow, tight," and the noun "kládos," meaning "branch; young slip or shoot of a tree, such as is broken off for grafting."
How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia stenoclada
Light: This succulent is a sun lover. Place your indoor E. stenoclada in a sunny window. From spring to fall, you may place the pot on the balcony or in the garden. Increase sun exposure gradually to prevent sunburn.
Soil: E. stenoclada requires well-drained soil. Use a commercial mixture formulated for succulents, or make your own potting mix.
Temperature: High summer temperatures are not a problem, but low winter temperatures can damage or kill your plant. E. stenoclada can withstand temperatures as low as 30 °F (-1.1 °C). USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10a to 11b, 30 to 50 °F (-1.1 to 10 °C).
Watering: From spring to fall, water when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil feels dry. Reduce watering in winter. Give it just enough water to prevent wilting. The best time of the day to water your E. stenoclada in the warm season is the evening.
Fertilizing: Plants in a pot need regular feeding. Apply a balanced fertilizer in a 10-10-10 NPK formulation, diluted to 1/4 strength once a week during the growing season.
Repotting: E. stenoclada will benefit from repotting, but it does not need to be repotted every year. When your plant is outgrowing its pot, it is time to repot it in a larger pot and give it a fresh potting mix. The repotting is best done in early spring, at the beginning of the growing season. Wear gloves, protective clothing, and appropriate eye protection when repotting this succulent.
Propagation: The easiest and fastest method of propagation for this plant is by using cuttings. It can also be grown from seeds, but it can be difficult to germinate. The best time to take cuttings is in spring or summer. Sow the seeds in spring.
Learn more at How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.
Toxicity of Euphorbia stenoclada
E. stenoclada produces a white milky sap that is toxic and can cause irritation to the skin and eyes. Therefore, it is best to keep your plant away from children and pets.
- Back to genus Euphorbia
- Succulentopedia: Browse succulents by Scientific Name, Common Name, Genus, Family, USDA Hardiness Zone, Origin, or cacti by Genus
Click on a photo to see a larger version.