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Euphorbia lactea

Phonetic Spelling
yoo-FOR-bee-ah lak-TAY-ah
This plant has medium severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Euphorbia lactea, or Mottled spurge, is a deciduous, spiny, usually leafless, cactus-like succulent shrub or small tree. It can grow to a height of 15 feet, but is typically maintained as a 1 to 2 foot houseplant. The plant has spiny stems and mottled branches that are green with white lines. Tiny leaves do appear in summer, but drop quickly leaving the plant leafless. Flowering is rare and the plant does not tolerate frost. Other characteristics include 4-angled stems with paired black stem thorns. If injured, the plant will ooze a toxic, milky latex.

Mottled spurge is best grown in well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It cannot tolerate wet soil, but you can allow soils to dry out after each watering. Water consistently in summer to prevent soils from totally drying out and decrease watering in winter. The plants is winter hardy to zone 10, but is intolerant of frost. Potted plants can be overwintered indoors or grown, year round, as a houseplant.

The plant has adapted itself to dry regions and appears in many tropical and sub-tropical areas world wide. It has been known to escape from cultivation and form dense thickets. It grows wild in tropical Asia and is widely cultivated in the West Indies, Florida and many tropical areas world wide

Disease, Insects, and Other Plant Problems:

No known serious insect or disease problems. Aphids, mealybugs and nematodes may appear. Watch for mites. Avoid contact with poisonous plant sap.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#shrub#succulent#winter interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#deer resistant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#poisonous#drought tolerant#shrub#succulent#winter interest#rabbit resistant#cpp#deer resistant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euphorbia
    Species:
    lactea
    Family:
    Euphorbiacea
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Sri Lanka, India, Thailand
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    deer and drought resistant
    Edibility:
    Toxic if eaten
    Dimensions:
    Height: 5 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Poisonous
    Shrub
    Succulent
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Columnar
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Mottled spurge rarely flowers, but inconspicuous flowers with a yellow tinge sometimes appear near the stem tips. When flowers do appear, they are inconspicuously located in paired cyathia near the stem tips.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Prickly
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Tiny leaves appear at the growing tips in summer, but drop quickly leaving plants leafless most of the time.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Black
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Four angled spiny stems with paired black thorns. Mottled branches (green with white lines).
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Design Feature:
    Hedge
    Specimen
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Rabbits
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
    Spines/Thorns
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Medium
    Poison Symptoms:
    All parts of this plant, especially the sap, can cause low-level toxicity, resulting in nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested. If your skin comes in contact with the sap, redness, swelling, and blisters can occur after some delay.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Diterpene esters in milky latex.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Leaves
    Sap/Juice