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Euphorbia halipedicola


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Euphorbia halipedicola, is a classic succulent candelabra tree with a tall erected trunk crowned with a whorl of jointed branches. Similarly to E. cooperi it is characterized by periods of rapid growth, designated by the wide stem sections, and minimal growth which are the narrow sections.

Description: E. halipedicola is another of the Euphorbia cooperi-like plants with some subtle differences. It is a rare succulent shrub or small candelabra tree up to 4 m high, usually with a single trunk crowned with a whorl of segmented branchlets. The branches do not split again, unlike the common tree Euphorbia. Old dead branches hang underneath the the compact crown for a while. Over time all lower branches sheds in a continual process leaving the top branches to accentuate the candelabra form.
Stems: The solitary trunk is naked, straight, grey to dark grey or brown with a gnarled appearance up to 3 m high. Round holes on the trunk indicate where old branches have fallen off. Branchlets green to yellowish-green often with very ornamental lime green marbled marking, constricted into oblong segments up to 40 cm long, 3-4-angled with thin, distinctly undulating wings.
No clearly visible, very small, inconspicuous that fall early, they are sometimes seen on the branch ridges among the spines.

Spines: Spine shields more or less continuous, forming a horny margin on the wings.
Flowers: Deep yellow to orange, in clusters above the spines
Fruit: Distinctly 3-lobed when mature, approx 8 20 mm, on a pedicel up to 8 mm long.
Blooming season (Europe): Flowers are usually produced in winter
Euphorbia halipedicola is superficially similar Euphorbia cooperi in appearance but it has much larger segments and the stem ridges had strongly wavy margins.

 For its beauty and distinctive silhouette nearly all the botanical gardens have one.

The outer rib-ridges have continuous, narrow and dark spine shields running along the paired spines.



Family: Euphorbiaceae

Accepted scientific name:  Euphorbia halipedicola L.C. Leach1970

Common English Names include:  
Zig-zag Candelabra Tree

Origin: Coastal Tanzania, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and possibly southern Malawi. (Type locality coastal plain near Lake Gambue, Mozambique)

Habitat: In mixed woodland, in seasonally flooded areas on deep alluvial soils. Altitude up to 500 m

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Etymology: Named for Euphorbus, Greek physician to Juba II, King of Mauretania.
The species name '
halipedicola' comes from  Latin 'halipedum', 'coastal plain'; and Latin '-cola', 'inhabiting'; for the preferred habitat. .


Cultivation: It is an easy species to grow that is suited for any well drained soil in full sun. But young plant are happy growing indoors. Give the plant an airy growing medium which mainly consists of non organic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mould. Water regularly during the active growing season from March to September. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Keep almost completely dry in winter. It is a moderately fast grower, and will quickly become large landscape masterpieces in just 5-10 years. Only downside is from strong winds, the columns often smash into each other, causing permanent scarring... best to plant in such a location where winds are not a big issue. It is a  long lived plant and once established, it will be content in its position and with its soil for years. It can tolerate moderate shade, and a plant that has been growing in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun as the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade into sun. Like quite small pots, repot in very later winter, early spring.  Frost tender, frost free zones only.
  It is easy to propagate by cuttings in late spring to summer,  just take a cutting of the plant let it dry for 1 or 2 weeks and stuff it in the ground (preferably dry, loose, extremely well draining soil).
Its latex is  poisonous. Can irritate the skin and can produce a burning sensation in the throat if ingested. Latex irritates the eye and can cause blindeness. If contact is made with this white sap, take care to not touch face or eyes before washing hands with soap and water.
Gardening: This tree can be grown in large, rocky, well-drained soil in gardens in drier areas, however, because of the latex and spines, is not advisable for a family garden. It is very drought resistant but very susceptible to frost.

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Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Encyclopaedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.