Probably one of the more popular of all the
columnar Euphorbias with very attractive markings. Grows in a candelabra
form and branches.
Description: Multi-branched, dwarf-stemmed,
candelabra shaped succulent, 60-120 cm tall that, as its name suggests,
resembles a cactus. The stems often have distinctive yellow V-shaped
markings. Plants eventually form large mounded clumps.
Stem: Cylindrical,irregular, constricted in
broad, twisted, triangular segments about 5-10 cm long, green
with segments conspicuously and ornamentally
decorated with horizontal or "U" shaped grey or greenish-yellow markings
. On cross section has very thin walls and irregular diameter 2,5 to 7
Spines: Stout 5-12 mm long paired spines
Ribs: 3 to 5 (but usually 4) angular with wavy edges.
Leaves: Leaves only appear briefly, less then 3 mm at the very
tips of the growing canters only, briefly in summer.
Bloom Season: Late winter through Late Summer
subspecies, varieties and forms:
- E. pseudocactus lyttoniana form: It is
usually shorter and not really qualifying as a columnar Euphorbia, it
is also more square in cross-section and hardly armed at all, forming
very compact, dense colonies of upright, slightly variegated columns.
- E. pseudocactus 'Zig Zag' form: (sometimes called a
Zig-Zag plant): far more popular, it is similar in form to
E. grandicornis, but a much smaller and more
- E. pseudocactus 'miniature' form: Seedlings of the
miniature form sometimes appears among normal seedlings of this
species. Their branches are (3-) 4- to 5-angled, little segemented and
only 2 to 2.5 cm in diameter.
Scientific name: Euphorbia
In: Succulenta. Amst. 1947: 56-57. 1947
Common Names include:
Origin: Natal, subtropical coast of South Africa
Habitat: Thorny bush-lands and savannah
often forming colonies.
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
It is an easy species to grow that is suited for any well drained soil
in full sun. But young plant are happy growing indoors, where they can
easily reach the ceiling. Give the plant an airy growing medium which
mainly consists of non organic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit,
and only a little peat or leaf-mould. Water regularly during the active
growing season from March to September. No water should ever be allowed
to stand around the roots. Keep almost completely dry in winter. It is a
moderately fast grower, and will quickly become large landscape
masterpieces in just 3-5 years. Only downside is from strong winds, the
columns often smash into each other, causing permanent scarring... best
to plant in such a location where winds are not a big issue. If plant
becomes very red, this is a sign that the roots have not developed
properly. It is a relatively fast growing and long lived plant and once
established, it will be content in its position and with its soil for
years. It can tolerate moderate shade, and a plant that has been growing
in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun as
the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade
into sun. Like quite small pots, repott in very later winter, early
spring. Can be pruned for shape and branching. Frost tender, frost free
zones only. Plant Pests: Prone to mealy bugs and rarely scale.
Propagation: It is
easy to propagate by cuttings in late spring to summer, just take
a cutting of the plant let it dry for 1 or 2 weeks and stuff it in the
ground (preferably dry, loose, extremely well draining soil).
Warning: All Euphorbias contain a white sap
that can be irritating to eyes and mucous membranes. If contact is made
with this white sap, take care to not touch face or eyes before washing
hands with soap and water.