Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Euphorbia species

It is extraordinary how many Euphorbia there are and how much they differ from each other.  The only way to know they are related is by the  flowers.
Here is a photo of the tiny ground cover.  The leaves are very small  in dry weather.  I added my finger tip for scale.

It was only recently that I found out that this old favorite ground cover  was in fact an Euphorbia!

Never forget that the milky sap or latex of  the Euphorbia plant is highly toxic.  Especially in the eyes.  There is one very fierce large tree size Euphorbia in the northern parts of South Africa where it is dangerous  in habitat where those large plants grow to walk downwind when they are in bloom.  Your eyes will start burning and you better cover the eyes and nose with a  piece of  cloth quickly.
Surprisingly the bees and butterflies love the flowers !
There are animals - even domestic cattle - that eat some of the Euphorbia species.  This is life saving for the animals in Namaqualand and the Karoo.
I would like an assortment Euphorbia  between the aloe 
plants but most of the pretty or odd ones are rather difficult plants out of their habitat.


Julie said...

I love those butterflies!!! WOW, the Euphorbia is so powerful there causing such symptoms just on the wind like that! Good grief! It is amazing tyhat some animals can actually eat the stuff!!! I, also, would love to have a huge Ephorbia collection!!! My new love are Bromeliads...do you grow them over there????

ericat said...

Hi Julie, Bromeliads are not endemic to Africa but you get many fans here. I have seen some pretty ones but I have enough entertainment (work) ;-) to keep busy with what I have. Aloes and cats. Do you have your Bromies up on a blog? I can not read your succulent blog.

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