Euphorbia milii

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Euphorbia milii
Euphorbia Milii flowers.jpg
Christ thorn flowers in full bloom, with new leaves emerging.jpg
Christ thorn (large)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. milii
Binomial name
Euphorbia milii
Des Moul.

Euphorbia milii, the crown of thorns, Christ plant, or Christ thorn, called Corona de Cristo in Latin America (coroa-de-cristo in Brazil), is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaciae, native to Madagascar. The species name commemorates Baron Milius, once Governor of Réunion, who introduced the species to France in 1821.[1] It is suspected that the species was introduced to the Middle East in ancient times, and legend associates it with the crown of thorns worn by Christ.[1]

Description[edit]

It is a succulent climbing shrub growing to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in) tall, with densely spiny stems. The straight, slender spines, up to 3 cm (1.2 in) long, help it scramble over other plants. The leaves are found mainly on new growth,[1] and are obovate, up to 3.5 cm (1.4 in) long and 1.5 cm (0.59 in) broad. The flowers are small, subtended by a pair of conspicuous petal-like bracts, variably red, pink or white, up to 12 mm (0.47 in) broad.[2] The sap is moderately poisonous, and causes irritation on contact with skin or eyes. If ingested, it causes severe stomach pain, irritation of the throat and mouth, and vomiting. The poisonous ingredients have been identified as phorbol esters.[3] Wat Phrik in Thailand claims to be the home of the world's tallest Christ thorn plant.[4] Euphorbia Milii could be propagated from cuttings[5].

Mutation in Crown of thorns

Varieties[edit]

E. milii is a variable species, and several varieties have been described; some of these are treated as distinct species by some authors.[2] E. milii var. splendens (syn. E. splendens) is considered to be the living embodiment of the supreme deity in Bathouism, a minority religion practiced by the Bodo people of Eastern India and Nepal.

Cultivation[edit]

E. milii is not hardy, and does not tolerate temperatures below 10 °C (50 °F). In temperate areas it needs to be grown under glass in full sun. During the summer it may be placed outside in a sheltered spot, when all risk of frost is absent. The species[6]and the variety E. milii var. splendens[7] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.[8]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Ombrello, Dr T., Crown of Thorns, Plant of the Week, UCC Biology Department, archived from the original on 17 September 2009, retrieved 1 October 2009 
  2. ^ a b Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. ISBN 0-333-47494-5. 
  3. ^ "Crown-of-Thorns (Euphorbia milii)". Veterinary Medicine Library. University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
  4. ^ ThaiTambon.com
  5. ^ Complete Guide to Houseplants. Meredith Publishing Group. 
  6. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Euphorbia milii". Retrieved 23 February 2018. 
  7. ^ "RHS Plantfinder - Euphorbia milii var. splendens". Retrieved 14 February 2018. 
  8. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 35. Retrieved 16 February 2018.