Notes on Euphorbias
There are two acquisitions of Euphorbia rigida growing here at Lambley. The first was collected more than twenty years ago “….just north of Sparta” in the Pelloponese. The second more recent collection was from north east of Gulnar in the Taurus Mountains “Among stones on limestone hills”. The plants raised from Turkish seed flower a few weeks earlier than the Greek collection otherwise there is very little difference between the two.
Euphorbia rigida would be worth growing for its evergreen foliage alone with waxy blue leaves spiralling around 60cm tall, upright stems. From mid July until October large flat lime yellow flower heads top each stem. These flower heads turn crimson with age and don’t get really ragged until Christmas. I generally cut the spent stems to the ground sometime during December by which time fresh new shoots are ready to take over.
The milky sap of all spurges is caustic and can cause severe rashes if it gets onto susceptible skin. A splash in the eye is very painful as I’ve found out a couple of times. Gloves, long sleeves and glasses should be worn when cutting back or even weeding around these plants. Ninety centimeters between plants would not be too much although I always seem to end up planting too closely.
Euphorbia myrsinites is a similar plant but its stems lay laxly along the ground and it produces its softer lime flowers a few weeks later than E. rigida and is at its best during September as Tulipa hageri bursts into flames. Both of these spurges need well drained soil in full sun. Both will gently self sow. Self sown seedling of any Euphorbias can be transplanted when they are small, no more than three or four centimeters tall.