Scientific: Euphorbia tirucalli 'Rosea' (Synonym: Euphorbia rhipsaloides, Euphorbia viminalis, Tithymalus tirucalli)
Common: Fire sticks, sticks of fire, sticks on fire
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Origin: Euphorbia tirucalli is native to South Africa, though it has naturalized throughout Africa. Also it has naturalized in southwest Florida.

Pronounciation: U-FOR-bee-a tir-u-CAL-li ROW-se-a

Hardiness zones
USDA 9-11

Landscape Use: Strong color and textural accent shrub for oasis and xeric landscapes, container plant.

Form & Character: Evergreen rounded and upright, colorful, unique, dry.

Growth Habit: Slow to eventually 4 to 5 feet in height with somewhat lesser spread. Stems of cultivar 'Rosea' have lower concentrations of chlorophyll thus growth rate is much slowed.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves produces on juvenile plants at the stem apecies and are ephemeral, new stems of 'Rosea' are colored (orange and red), generally leafless. The stems contain white latex that might be toxic and can cause dermal rashes and blistering, oral ingestion can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea; fine texture.

Flowers & Fruits: Insignificant

Seasonal Color: None

Temperature: Tolerant of desert heat. The cultivar 'Rosea' is cold hardy to 30o with carotenoid and anthocyanin pigment biosynthesis stimulated by cooler winter temperatures in Phoenix (thus the fiery red stem color).

Light: Full sun, shade reduces orange red stem color.

Soil: Tolerant

Watering: Water sparingly only as needed.

Pruning: Some occassional supplemental water is needed, but additional water will stimulate growth rate.

Propagation: Stems cuttings propagate easily.

Disease and pests: Root rot is the only real problem with this otherwise tough shrub.

Additional comments: Fire sticks is a cultivar named 'Rosea' of the normally very large (20 to 30 feet in height) pencil cactus (E. tirucalli). Fire sticks is a visually stunning plant that enlivens most any garden or landscape setting especially during winter when the stem color is most intense.

The latex from the stems of E. tirucalli can be processed into a low grade rubber and has gained recent interest as a source for biofuel.