Scientific: Euphorbia polygona (very similar to Euphorbia horrida)
Common: Spurge is the common name for Euphorbia in general. This species has no common name.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Origin: South Africa

Pronounciation: U-FOR-bee-a pol-ee-GO-na

Hardiness zones
Sunset
13-24
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Rock gardens and desert landscapes, containers. It is a textural accent for small-scale landscape settings.

Form & Character: Evergreen, succulent, stiff, upright, plump, gray, miniature, comical, dry.

Growth Habit: Basally branching, very slow growing succulent shrub growing to 1 to 1.5 feet tall, spreading very slowly by basal rhizomes to form loose clumps.

Foliage/texture: Generally leafless, stems photosynthetic, dull gray green to fully glaucous blue gray, 7 to 9 sided, stem ridges armed with short white to purple spines; coarse texture.

Flowers & fruits: The flowers are small with maroon to purple sepals, and the fruit a small capsule with one seed in each cell. Flowering is rare out of its native range.

Seasonal color: None

Temperature: Tolerant of Phoenix weather conditions.

Light: Partial to full sun, no western sun.

Soil: Tolerant of alkaline and saline soils; however, soils must be well drained!

Watering: Little to no additional water is needed during most of the year. Supplemental water is needed only during the hottest months of the summer.

Pruning: None, except to divide to clumps about every 5 to 10 years.

Propagation: Division best, stem cuttings if one allows stem segments (propagules) to dry for a week before planting so the wound can seal. Unsealed cuttings, planted too soon, will easily rot before they can grow roots. Before drying, I recommend washing the stem segment to remove the latex.

Disease and pests: None.

Additional comments: E. polygona makes a nice specimen plant for rock gardens and patio containers. Make sure in Phoenix to give it protection from the intense western sun of summer. It is very low maintenance, clean and care free......but, like others of its kind, it does have a dark side.......meaning like other Euphorbia plants, the latex of E. polygana is particularly dangerous to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes and will produce a burning pain in bones and limbs and a paralytic weakness in the joints. Handle cultivated plants carefully and use extreme caution to NOT get any latex in eyes or mouth.

There are as many as 12 recognized varietal selections of E. polygana.

The genus Euphorbia consists of 2008 species and is one of the most diverse genera in the plant kingdom. Euphorbia is derived from "Euphorbus, the Greek physician of King Juba II of Numidia (ca. 52-50 BC to 23 AD), who married the daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra. He wrote that one of the cactus-like Euphorbias was a powerful laxative. In 12 BC, Juba named this plant after his physician Euphorbus in response to Augustus Ceasar dedicating a statue to Antonius Busa, his own personal physician. Botanist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbia to the entire genus in the physician's honor" (Wikipedia). For more information see the International Euphorbia Society.