July 24, 2017

2,000 and Counting

Euphorbia polychroma - Cushion Spurge

Pineo Photo - Euphorbia polychroma - Cushion Spurge

One finds relatives in the strangest places, but for the spurge genus, the relatives are everywhere and come in a variety of forms: annuals and biennials; evergreen, semi-evergreen and herbaceous perennials; deciduous and evergreen subshrubs, shrubs and trees; and succulents. That’s possible when there are more than 2,000 of you in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas of the globe. Euphorbia polychroma is one of the family, growing easily in areas down to Zone 4 as a herbaceous perennial.  Also known as cushion spurge, the plant forms clumps and gets its color from the cyathia (modified leaves) that are cupped by involucres (bracts) of a greenish-yellow tinge. Chances are you recently had contact with a cousin of Euphorbia polychroma just this holiday season; in fact, you likely could have thrown a stick and hit one in nearly any public space in the state, possibly even your own home. The poinsettia is a Euphorbia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, in fact. Small world.