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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, informal hedge, for oasis, xeric and desert landscape design themes, container plant.

Form & Character: Rounded and upright, colorful, unique, dry.

Growth Habit: Evergreen, mostly succulent perennial, slow to eventually 4- to 8-feet tall with somewhat lesser to similar spread. Stems of cultivar 'Rosea' have lower concentrations of chlorophyll meaning its growth rate is slowed compared to the straight 'green' species.

Foliage/Texture: Leaves are small and ephemeral to non existant, thus the plant consists of mostly photosynthetic stems. New stems of 'Rosea' are colored (yellow, orange and red). The texture of this plant is fine.

Toxicological warning: The stems contain white latex that might be toxic and can cause dermal rashes and blistering, oral ingestion might cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Flowers & Fruits: Insignificant

Seasonal Color: Orange and red stems during the Phoenix cool season (October through April).

Temperature: Tolerant of desert heat. The cultivar 'Rosea' is cold hardy to 28oF with carotenoid and anthocyanin pigment biosynthesis stimulated by cooler winter temperatures in Phoenix (thus, the fiery orange red stem color).

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

Soil: Tolerant

Watering: Water sparingly only as needed.

Pruning: Rarely needs pruning if planted and cared for wisely. However, too much supplemental water will over stimulate growth, which gets the 'Horticultural clods of Phoenix' (and Los Angeles) (aka 'Hort clods') excited because they get to emasculate yet another beautiful landscape shrub.

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 smallish cultivar of the normally very large (10- to 20-feet tall) pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli). Fire sticks is a visually stunning plant that enlivens most any garden or landscape setting especially during winter when the reddish stem color is most intense.

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