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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A blaze of color to end 2009 -STICKS ON FIRE


Euphorbia tirucallis

If your landscape was looking dour today---after all it’s raining , grey, cold--- warm your thoughts with this unlikely looking succulent. Native to the Arabian Peninsula, it’s tough as an old boot. One here lived in a forgotten wall pot for a year, surviving on fog and our scanty rainfall. Right now its being pampered with a larger pot, and water. Putting out new growth from the top of its’ head----bright coral --- Mr. Invincible.


Sticks On Fire is also called Pencil Bush, Milk Bush, and Naked Lady (why?). Used to treat warts; well,okay), rheumatism (do Not Try This At Home) toothache (God forbid)

Most euphorbia have toxic juice and this one is no exception. It grows like crazy in India, Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. So much so, that e. tirucalli has been seriously proposed as bio diesel fuel. (3 gals. per acre. ) Have they considered toxic fumes? Somehow, used cooking oil seems  less edgy but possibly less---lethal

E. tirucallis grows well and happily in so Cal, and is dazzling in a well done landscape plan like Dean’s. (See blog A Succulent Classic Perennial Border 12/16/09). You can buy it in a 15 gallon pot for around $20.00,  Enough to make a Statement.