Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: African Milk Bush - Green
Euphorbia bicompacta

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: bicompacta

Synonym:Synadenium compactum

Cactus and Succulents

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

Unknown - Tell us

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:
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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2 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive palmbob On Feb 19, 2011, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have grown this plant many times over the last 10-15 years and it is a great plant- super easy. However, I live in zone 9b, and though it has not died here, even during an atypical severe freeze, it did die down the the ground... but recovered. It is one of the faster growing Euphorbias there are, growing from a 1' cutting to a tree over 6' tall in just a few years. Cuttings are incredibly easy to grow, often requiring ony removal from the mother plant (snapping one off at the point of attachment (a weak spot in this species) and just putting the oozing end in the ground- I have nearly 100% succuss rate this way). Sap is very noxious and oozes with minimal contact, making it one of the most annoyingly hazardous plants in my garden (and I have a LOT of hazardous plants). Another common name for this plant is Dead Man's Tree, though I can find no reports of any one actually dying from eating it (at least not in the US... I am sure there are historical anecdotes of native peoples consuming this, as people tend to do any and all plants at some point in history). Comes as nice green plant, but the more popular rubra form is the one most often grown (red to purple leaves splotched with brilliant green).

Was for the longest time in its own genus, Synadenium, but early this century was lumped firmly into Euphorbia.

Positive momjade On Jun 27, 2010, momjade from Buenos Aires
Argentina (Zone 9b) wrote:

- This plant grows well potted alone or in a garden with regular soil in full sunlight which brings out lovely purple specks on its leaves.
- In the southern hemisphere, it is also known as the wart plant. Direct contact of its milky sap on a human or canine wart will dry it up and remove it in as little as three days. Contact with any other skin area is highly irritant producing redness and fever.
- In southern hemisphere winters (like our Canadian autumn but without the frost) where daytime temperatures hover below 20C and fall below 10C at night, the plant goes dormant, losing all its leaves.

This plant was originally given to me by my seamstress who had plenty growing in her garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina and I've successfully grown it in pots for many years thereafter. It is very hardy.


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

Phoenix, Arizona
Clayton, California
Hollywood, Florida
Palm Beach, Florida
Wellborn, Florida

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