The Euphorbia genus was named and described by Carl von Linnaeus in Species Plantarum in 1753.
Euphorbia is a very diverse genus of flowering plants in the plant family Euphorbiaceae commonly known as the spurge family.
As of 12-22-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 2,087 accepted species of Euphorbia. It is a member of the plant family Euphorbiaceae with 227 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.
The above distribution map for the genus Euphorbia is from Plants of the World Online. Areas in green are where species in the genus are native and purple is where they have been introduced.
There is a lot of useful information online about many genera and species in this family. I am not going to do an extensive write-up at this time, but the following links are a good place for you to start. The links take you directly to the information on the genus Euphorbia. The data on these websites may not be the same. It depends on their sources and when and how they make updates.
I have identified a couple of wildflowers in the genus on the farm and have experience with several succulents in the genus as well. You can click on the plant names under the photos to go to their own pages.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. You can leave a comment about the error or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE
WORLD CHECKLIST OF SELECTED PLANT FAMILIES
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA
FLORA OF MISSOURI
GARDENING KNOW HOW
THE NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION
MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN
I first photographed and identified the Euphorbia corollata (Flowering Spurge) on my farm in 2018. Euphorbia corollata is a perennial that grows up to around 3’ in height. Common names include Flowering Spurge, Prairie Baby’s Breath, Wild Spurge, and possibly others. They are a native of Missouri and the mid to eastern half of North America.
There are 40 acres here on the farm and I never know when or where a new species I haven’t identified will show up. This Euphorbia dentata (Green Poinsettia) showed up in the basement of the old foundation where my grandparent’s house used to be in 2021. I had never seen it anywhere else here and I wondered how it got in the old foundation… You just never know… Common names include Green Poinsettia, Tooth Spurge, Toothedleaf Poinsettia, and maybe more. I found more of these in 2022 in front of the foundation, along the ditch in front of the garden, and under an elm tree in an area that used to be the chicken yard. Plus, I found what I think was Euphorbia davidii along the road on the south side of the park. I thought the plants in the ditch were also E. davidii, but the seeds proved E. dentata. Hopefully, I can get seeds from the plants at the park in 2022. The problem is that seeds online vary from one author to another. Some seem to have them mixed up… I wrote a couple of curators on a particular website explaining the confusion, even on their own write-up, and received no response… Hmmm… I think I will stick with what the Missouri Plants website says. It seems I have a problem adding the 2022 photos until I know for sure…
I brought my Euphorbia flanaganii f. cristata (Green Coral) home from Lowe’s on April 20, 2013. This species is very fast growing for sure and it soon started growing branches in every direction. The common name for the species is Medusa Plant or Medusa Head because of its snake-like arms which resemble locks of hair. The central stem merges into roots forming a caudex ( or tuberous body) with branches coming from it, which is an example of a Fibonacci spiral.
I brought my first Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Starblast White’ home from Wagler’s Greenhouse on June 1, 2014. I use these often in a friend’s combination planters.
I picked up this Euphorbia mammillaris (Indian Corn Cob) as a cutting on March 29, 2019. It has done very well and just keeps on growing.
I found several Euphorbia nutans (Nodding Spurge) in the south hayfield in 2021. I took photos on September 30 and October 22. I can always tell when I find plants in the plant family Euphorbiaceae even though I may not always recognize the genus and species. Common names include Nodding Spurge, Eyebane, Eyebane Sandmat, and possibly others.
I brought this Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Tree, etc.) home as a cutting in 2010 (?) from a very large plant at the Leland City Hall when I was living in Leland, Mississippi. I brought it with me when I moved back to Missouri in 2013. It was a neat plant for sure. I named it ‘Leland City Hall’ because that’s where I got the cutting.
This is my other Euphorbia tirucalli called ‘Rosea’. It was given to me by the owner of Pleasant Acres Nursery in Leland, Mississippi in May 2012. The cultivar name is ‘Firesticks’ and the newer upper growth will turn a reddish color if given more sun.
I found this AWESOME Euphorbia trigona ‘Rubra’ at a local greenhouse (Mast’s) on June 18 in 2021. It was 6 1/4″ tall and grew to 10 3/4″ by the time the above photo was taken on September 17. The stems and leaves have a reddish tint and one day when the sun was shining on it, the leaves were glowing red.
That’s all I have for the moment for members of the Euphorbia genus I have experience with. I am sure someday there will be more. You just never know…