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Euphorbia milii

Euphorbia milii Des Moul.

Euphorbia splendens var. milii

Crown of Thorns

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderMalpighialesA broad group encompassing 16,000 species
FamilyEuphorbiaceaeEuphorbia or spurge family
GenusEuphorbiaAn extremely diverse-looking genus of mostly tropical and subtropical succulent plants. For Euphorbus, corpulent Greek physician of Juba II, King of Mauretania. Literally, “euphorbia” means “well-fed”
SpeciesmiliiNamed for Baron Milius, once governor of Réunion, who introduced the species to France

About plant names...

The crown of thorns looks more like a rose bush on steroids than a cactus-like euphorbia, but a euphorbia it is. This red-flowering native of Madagascar is not found in the wild in North America (although it may be becoming naturalized in Florida). Cultivars of this plant are popular as house plants, with flowers (really modified leaves) that are pink, yellow, white, and orange, as well as red.

Identification: This climbing shrub grows to 6' (1.8 m) tall, spewing densely spine-covered branches in every direction. The randomly curving branches are in search of other plants, which the shrub uses to support itself as it grows. Branches are dark and woody, not the green cactus-like color of many euphorbias. Flowers (actually bracts) are scarlet red.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones All euphorbias can cause dermatitis and are poisonous when ingested.

Online References:

Euphorbia milii on the Weekend Gardener

Euphorbia milii on FLORIDATA

Euphorbia milii on Wikipedia

Euphorbia milii on Desert-tropicals.com

Euphorbia milii on Forest and Kim Starr’s Starr Environmental site

Euphorbia milii at the Miami-Dade County/University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/26/2010 · San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
≈ 4 × 3' (1.3 × 0.9 m)

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/26/2010 · San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
≈ 33 × 39" (83 × 100 cm)

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/16/2007 · San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego, CA

Euphorbia milii description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/24/2010 · San Diego (Quail) Botanic Garden, Encinitas, CA

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/26/2010 · San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
≈ 3½ × 3½' (1.2 × 1 m)

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/26/2010 · San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA

Euphorbia milii (Crown of Thorns)

2/26/2010 · San Diego Zoo, San Diego, CA
≈ 4 × 3½" (10 × 8.8 cm)

Range: Zones 9b-10:

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