This is a large, heavily branching dark green succulent shrub with unique five-angled stems and orderly leaves at the branch tips. Although it is grown in tropical regions it is fairly hardy for a tropical plant. It is important to protect the roots from freezing temperatures though. It blooms with small greenish flowers (cythia) appearing in the axils of the upper leaves on short rigid peduncles which dry to become spines after flowers and seeds drop off.
The root stock of E. neriifolia is widely used to propagate specimens of crested, fan-shaped or color mutants of E. lacteal and other succulents. There is also a crested form of E. neriifolia often grown as a container plant by succulent fans.
This plant has a long history of medicinal uses in Ayurvedic medicine. Leaves and their latex are used to relieve earaches. Juice of the root is purgative, diuretic and used to treat asthma, colds and stomach ailments. As it is fairly fast growing, the stems are used as fuel and it is commercially farmed for its latex and other chemicals.
This makes a handsome small tree or shrub where it is hardy. It could work at the edge of a succulent or cactus garden as it can take extra irrigation but it is also drought tolerant. Strong winds can damage or break stems so it needs a somewhat protected position. It can be kept as a houseplant in very bright light.
Names and Synonyms: Euphorbia edulis, Euphorbia ligularia, Euphorbia pentagona, Tithymalus edulis
Common Names: Indian Spurge Tree, Oleander-Leaved Cactus, Oleander Spurge, Hedge Euphorbia, Milk Spurge, Milkbush, Holy Milk Hedge, Dog’s Tongue, Common Milk Hedge.
Origin: The original species is probably of Central India, Orissa and South India, but now is cultivated and naturaized in West Bengal, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand and throughout the Malesian region except Borneo. It is also cultivated as an ornamental plant in other tropical regions.
Size Label: 1 gallon
Height: 6-10′ or more
Cold Tolerance: 25 to 30°F; -3.9 to -1.1°C (hardier if kept dry in winter)
Heat Tolerance: Very high heat tolerance
Light Requirement: Full sun to light shade
Water needs: Drought tolerant but prefers regular water during the growing season.
Maintenance: Can be pruned for shape and branching, but be sure to avoid the irritating sap.
Uses: This makes a handsome small tree or shrub where it is hardy. It could work at the edge of a succulent or cactus garden as it can take extra irrigation but it is also drought tolerant. Strong winds can damage or break stems so it needs a somewhat protected position. It can be kept as a houseplant in very bright light.
Propagation: Hedge Spurge can be grown from seeds or propagated from stem cuttings.
Problems: Occasional problems with mealy bugs and scale. Root rot in poor draining soils in winter.
There is a minimum purchase of any 4 plants for online orders. All plants shipped bare root. Other sizes may be available for pick up from our growing grounds in Fallbrook, CA. For more information, give us a call at 760-990-4762.
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