Common name: African Milk Tree
Species trigona f. Rubra
Plant Link: http://plantsdatabase.com/go/58093/
I thought that I had to have one of these to go along with my Afican mask plant until I read the hyperlink. I guess I would just be courting danger if I got one of these. It is sure a lovley plant though.
Believe I have this, got it as a houseplant (our area too cold for garden) and it has grown "full speed ahead". Several years ago had one, began as about 4" cactus", grew until it entwined the window rods and venetian blinds. In order to remove it, had to actually cut it and throw it out the window. Have several starts from it, growing by leaps and bounds again. This will require almost no care, goes without water for ages. Yes, it will cause itching if the "milk" gets on your skin, but that is no problem with care. VERY easy to care for, can be started from just placing the offshoots in soil, can cut the plant itself and roots easily.
I want to reiterate the need for caution about Euphorbia latex. I've been handling and growing many different varieties for 30 years and have rarely had a problem with them using normal garden hygiene and care. Get it on your skin, wash it off and move on.
Given that, I must relate that in the past month I have had two severe burns from two different Euphorbias. A 2" x 4" burn on my arm from wrestling with the common garden Gopher Spurge (aka Purge) and a burn from the bridge of my nose clear across my cheek from a Euphorbia in my greenhouse. Both traumas occured because I was being careless. They look like second degree burns with a case of poison ivy/oak on top of them. Healing time is about 2 weeks with the use of antibiotic ointment and something like Benedryl.
I don't think this is something to be taken lightly particularly if a person has the tendency to be allergic to other things. Each episode (perhaps 5 in 30 years) has been much more severe than the prior episode. The mark across my cheek is still sensitive and will take some time to go away completely.
Better safe than sorry.
Perhaps this in not the plant you have. Is yours planted in the ground? And you live in Indiana? Euphorbia trigona (and a lot of other varieties of Euphorbia) hate cold weather and will turn to mush and die if below 50F for long periods of time.
This message was edited Sep 18, 2003 10:40 PM
Just as a note to the euphorbia burns, I have found that a spray benadryl works wonderfully on poison ivy places on the skin. I have used it a few times this summer and am so pleased with it. It is a clear spray and stops the itch immediately and completely. In addition, the poison ivy never bubbles up and is gone in about 3 days. It might be worth a try to use it on euphorbia burns as well. I got it at Walmart and it's just called Benadryl Spray. I have been taking a Benadryl pill at night for allergies (since it knocks me out if I take it during the day!) so the combination of the pill and spray might be having an impact on my poison ivy as well. Just a thought.
I want to buy a plant like this. One with more red on it. Please contact me as soon as possible. Have looked everywhere with no response.
This message was edited May 19, 2008 7:27 AM