euphorbia milii (12)
Crown of thorns is a bushy, very spiny, semi-succculent shrub that gets about 3 ft (1 m) in height, with a spread around 2 ft (60 cm). It has tough, leathery bright green leaves on slender fleshy stems, but the leaves often drop off on all but the youngest stems. The plant is sometimes completely leafless. The well named crown of thorns is armed with half inch (13 mm) vicious black thorns all over the stems and branches. In subtropical climates, crown of thorns bears tiny yellow-green flowers surrounded by two showy bright red bracts in spring and summer. In tropical climates, it blooms in cycles following rain throughout the year. Like the other members of the genus, Euphorbia milii oozes milky sap from bruised or broken stems and leaves. All euphorbs have a three-lobed fruit that splits apart when ripe, but crown of thorns rarely fruits in cultivation. Several named cultivars and varieties are noteworthy for their different colored bracts (pink, yellow, white, orange) and/or different growth habits. This species also has been hybridized with other euphorbs, resulting in cultivars with larger and flashier bracts.
Euphorbia milii is native to the island nation of Madagascar.
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