Pronounciation: U-FOR-bee-a of-fic-a-NAR-um ee-KYE-nus
Landscape Use: Excellent textural accent subshrub for small, desert rock and succulent display gardens, patio containers, narrow planters and small landscape spaces.
Form & Character: Diminuative, recessive, dense, rounded, stiff, erect and formal.
Growth Habit: Herbaceous perennial that profusely clumps into a hemispherical dome. Rarely taller than 2 to 3 feet in height in Phoenix, but with eventually an often greater spread at maturity.
Foliage/Texture: Generally leafless, thickened, stout green to glaucous green stems, stems with 5 to 8 ribes having short, white, stout spines; medium-coarse texture.
Flowers & Fruits: Very diminuative cymes of brilliant, greenish-yellow cyathia; fruits insignificant. Seasonal Color: Flowers during late summer and fall.
Temperature: Unlike people, quite tolerant of Phoenix thermal conditions.
Light: Full sun to partial shade.
Soil: Tolerant of Phoenix heat and cold.
Watering: Infrequently irrigate to promote spreading growth habit.
Pruning: None, except perhaps to divide clumps every 5 years.
Propagation: Easy by division and separation of basal stem off shoots.
Disease and pests: None.
Additional comments: This is a small, perennial, semi-succulent subshrub that deserves far greater attention and landscape use in Phoenix. E. officinarum subsp. enchinus is similar in appearance and landscape use potential to its close plant relative, E. resinifera.
E. officinarum subsp. enchinus has a long history of ethnobotanical uses in northwest Africa that are well documented.