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PlantFiles: Medusa Head
Euphorbia caput-medusae

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: caput-medusae (KAY-put me-DOO-say) (Info)

10 members have or want this plant for trade.

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Cactus and Succulents

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive boomboer On Sep 15, 2010, boomboer from Cape Town
South Africa wrote:

Euphorbia caput-medusae is best grown from seed if you want the sprawling shape typical of the plant - from cuttings you tend to get an atypical upright growth form. A very nice Euphorbia - not fussy and with lovely fragrant flowers in spring.

Positive palmbob On Apr 27, 2006, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

THis is one of the more prolific medusoid Euphorbias, sometimes forming massive, sprawling matts of 'branches' twisting and trailing in all directions. However, it can also be a gorgeous plant if 'pruned' back now and then, or when grown in a pot. Takes full sun in southern California, but tends to look a bit bleached in hot summers.

In its native South Africa it lives on slopes near the sea that get more rainful than most other medudoid Euphorbias see, so this might be a good one to try in more humid areas that rot the other species.

Positive emdc On Jul 30, 2004, emdc from Birmingham, AL wrote:

I got this plant as a cutting in 1996. It spends the growing season outside in about 85% direct sun & is brought indoors before the 1st freeze & generally neglected until spring. It started blooming in 2000 & has flowered every year since. The flowers are bright yellow.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Goodyear, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Bakersfield, California
Pomona, California
Reseda, California
San Leandro, California
San Marino, California
Solana Beach, California
Spring Valley, California
Chicago, Illinois

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