Euphorbia lactea forma
Garden origin (Nursery
Conservation status: Listed in
CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: "Elkhorn" , "Frilled Fan" or
lactea cristata or Elkhorn is a crested form with intricately
undulating fan-shaped branches forming a snaky ridge or crowded cluster.
The more common crested form is dark green attractively marked with
silver-gray zig-zag patterns. But now this plant is available in a large
number of picturesque variegated cultivars ranging in colour from white
to, yellow, pink, violet and green. White Ghost is the cultivar name
given to the white variegated form of lactea.
There exist also the standard species, not crested, with flattened,
three sided stems that look like a candelabra who reach without problem
a height of 5/6 meter.
White Ghost is the cultivar name given to the
white variegated form.
Crested growth: Unlike 'monstrose' varieties of plants,
where the variation from normal growth is due to genetic mutation,
crested growth can occur on normal plants. Sometimes it's due to
variances in light intensity, or damage, but generally the causes are
unknown. A crested plant may have some areas growing normally, and a
cresting plant that looks like a brain, may revert to normal growth for
no apparent reason. If you have any of the crested part left you need to
remove the normal growth and leave the crested part behind this will
need to be done regularly.
Culture: Euphorbia lactea "Cristata" need bright light to
partial shade for best appearance (but the variegated forms do best if
protected from strong sunshine in the hottest hours of the day). It
responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late
spring and summer months. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch
during active growing season (more than once a week during hot weather)
In the winter months, waterigs should be suspended or restricted to once
over the winter. The most common failure in growing this plant is over
watering, especially during the winter months. Likes porous soil with
adequate drainage. Very tender, protect from frost.
Reproduction: The green form of Euphorbia lactea "Cristata" is
propagated by cuttings or graft, while the variegated forms are
difficult to grow on their own roots, and are generally grafted for
Euphorbia canariensis or
It is recommend taking Euphorbia cuttings in Spring/Summer when the
plant is growing so that they have a better chance of success. They key
is heat & good air circulation. These cuttings should be dipped in
Hormone powder (but it is not needed) and left for a period of 3-4 weeks
to callous. Then pot the cutting and don't water ( or kept slightly
moist) until rooted. These will root just fine, if you can put the pot
outside in the summer, or put pot on a heating pad.
Warning: As with all other Euphorbias when a
plant get damaged it exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This
latex is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes,
skin and mucous membranes. So pay extreme attention
not to get any in your eyes or mouth. Cultivated plants must be
Photo of conspecific
taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Euphorbia lactea.