Euphorbia enopla var. enopla

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Botanical Name
Euphorbia enopla var. enopla
Euphorbiaceae - The euphorbia family.
yoo-FOR-bee-uh en-OH-pl-ah
Common Name(s)
USA: Pincushion Euphorbia
Plant Group
  • Succulent A plant having fleshy stems or leaves often adapted to dry conditions.
Plant Size
  • Medium to Large
    Tree15m to 20m
    Shrub2m to 3m
    Perennial/ground cover60cm to 75cm
    Bulb60cm to 1m
    Succulent60cm to 1m
  • Partial Shade The area is in shade for part of the day and in full sun for part of the day.
  • Sun The area is in full sun for all or most of the day, all year round.
General Information
  • Drought Tolerance: High The plant is well adapted to arid conditions; it can survive long periods of drought and high temperatures without extra water.
  • Evergreen Plants that have leaves all year round.
  • Frost: Half-hardy The plant is able to survive low temperatures and some frost but requires protection against severe frost.
  • Sand tolerant Plants adapted to survive in nutrient poor, very sandy soils.
  • Thorns / Spines / Prickles Thorn: A hard, woody, pointed branchlet. Spine: A modified leaf forming a hard, sharp-pointed outgrowth. Prickle: A small, sharp-pointed outgrowth growing from the bark of the plant.
  • Water Wise Plant species originating from low rainfall regions that require less water to survive and thrive than other plant species.
Specific Information

Euphorbia enopla​ is a succulent shrub, much branched from the base and profusely covered with stout red spines of up to 15 mm in length. This is one of the most attractive of the euphorbias. The green, grey-green or bluish-green, ribbed branches are about 3 cm in diameter with the decorative spines tightly arranged in rows along the ribbed edges. The stems often branch out towards the upper section forming a candelabra-like effect. Leaves are very small and remain only briefly on the plant before falling off. The male and female cyathia (flowers) are found on separate plants, the male flowers being yellow and the female flowers reportedly dark red (needs to be verified). This plant has been known to survive light frosts of short duration but is unsuitable for areas with heavy, regular periods of frost. Suitable for USDA Zones 9 to 11. 

As with most Euphorbias, when a plant is cut or damaged it exudes a thick, white, milky, latex-like sap. This sap is poisonous and may irritate the skin. It is very sticky and difficult to remove. Take extreme care not to get any in your eyes or mouth.

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small cyathia (pseudo-flowers) at the ends of branches on short stems

  • Winter to Summer Plants will seldom bloom for the entire season as given in the list, but should flower during a period within these parameters.
  • yellow
Growth Rate
  • Moderate Specifying growth rate can be very misleading as there is considerable variation of growth rate depending on type and species of plant, available water, supplementary feeding, mulching and general care, as well as the plants suitability and adaptability to the garden environment.
Plant Uses
  • Accent or Focal Point A plant used to attract the attention because of its colour or form.
  • Container Trees, shrubs and ornamental species that can adapt to growing in a restricted environment.
  • Filler Either a fast growing tree or shrub used temporarily to fill in an area while the permanent plants grow to a desired size, or a plant used to fill gaps in borders or beds.
  • Pot Plant A plant that needs a protected environment on a patio or indoors.
  • Rock Garden An area constructed of larger rocks, arranged naturally, to emphasise the use of stones as a main element. Generally plants used do not need a lot of care.
Distribution and Habitat

in the Eastern Cape in the Noorsveld near Jansenville  and in arid to semi arid Karoo, in sand and stony soil

Planting Suggestions

The most important requirements for growing Euphorbia enopla are bright light and very well drained soil. Plant in a sunny spot where it will get all day sun or just a little daily shade, in soil that is well drained - plant in a raised mound if the soil is likely to be a bit moist. Water only when the soil is completely dry. Avoid watering in winter. The plant is attractive in a container with the added advantage that it can be protected during inclement winter weather and returned to a sunny spot from spring to autumn. 

To propagate from seed, make a mixture of equal parts of perlite, coarse sand and potting soil, saturate with water and drain well, then scatter the seeds on the surface. Press down lightly and sprinkle only enough soil to anchor the seeds, keep them from drying out and prevent them from blowing away. Place the tray in a warm, protected, bright but shaded position. Spray lightly with water every second day. Keep the seedlings in the pot or tray until they have established a good root system and have grown to a sturdy size.

To propagate from cuttings, remove an offset, wash the cut end under running water to remove the latex and let it dry for a week or so, letting the wound heal. Cuttings planted too soon easily rot before they can grow roots. Place the cutting in the same mixture you would use for seeding, or any well drained sandy soil. Do not over water. Leave until well rooted.

Medicinal Uses

No data found.

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