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PlantFiles: Madagascar Jewel
Euphorbia leuconeura

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: leuconeura (loo-koh-NOOR-uh) (Info)

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Partial to Full Shade
Full Shade

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

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

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 seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

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By Happenstance
Thumbnail #1 of Euphorbia leuconeura by Happenstance

By jenny21
Thumbnail #2 of Euphorbia leuconeura by jenny21

By hiromori
Thumbnail #3 of Euphorbia leuconeura by hiromori

By hiromori
Thumbnail #4 of Euphorbia leuconeura by hiromori

By hiromori
Thumbnail #5 of Euphorbia leuconeura by hiromori

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #6 of Euphorbia leuconeura by Happenstance

By Happenstance
Thumbnail #7 of Euphorbia leuconeura by Happenstance

There are a total of 31 photos.
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27 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive chejnik On Mar 24, 2015, chejnik from Warsaw
Poland wrote:

Ďn our family we all love Madagascar Jewel. The history of our Jewels has started app. 8 years ago, when my wife has brought an ill big flower (without leaves) from work. We have cared for this flower and it started to give offsprings and still does. Now we have about 8s generation of this first Mother Jewel.
We have many springs each year (app. 50) and we notice that the best sun for the offsprings is the west sun. Our practice is to repot the offsprings when they have a least 3 leaves, not earlier.
The flowers need relatively a lot of sun, but not direct south sun (in that case the leaves turn red and are smaller). Without a sufficient sun the leaves turn yellow.
We keep app. 50 Jewels at home and the younger flowers we give as a present to our neighbours, families and friends. The flower is popular amoung them except my father who gave me the same flower I gave him after one year (not knowing that it was my original gift :))
Only a few of our Jewels make new branches and we still do not know how to support this branch growing. Usually only the strongest and most thriving ones make new branches.
The seeds found on the floor need to be placed in the soil quickly, so that they do not dry out.
The Jewels are not hard to water - they can survive overwatering or without water. I usually water them twice or three times in a week.
We have good experience with plastic pots.

Positive walkonsand On Feb 10, 2014, walkonsand from Stow, MA wrote:

I've had this plant since 2000 and mine is about 6 feet tall with many branches. It is a very dirty plant always losing leaves off the bottom and throwing seeds everywhere, but I like the bizarre nature of its appearance.
I give it fish tank water so in essence I feed it twice a week and it is actually growing towards my grow lights which is counter intuitive since it hates direct sunlight.
It does ooze white sap when cut, but I have created new plants by sticking cuttings into the soil.

Positive Janneke56 On May 18, 2012, Janneke56 from Maassluis
Netherlands wrote:

I have this plant for 34 years! It was a seedling of one of the plants of my mother in law. It needs the proper place in your house, no direct sunlight. I water it once a week. Once in about 3 years I replace the soil and once a month it gets a little fertilizer. When the plant becomes to large we cut a branch off.

Positive prarygirl On May 10, 2012, prarygirl from sherwood park
Canada wrote:

Received a plant in 1989 from a friend in Rocky Mountain House, AB. Here it is 2012 and I still have the plant and many more. It moults once or twice a year and gets HUGE with many forks that need support. Every once in a while I swear I'm going to just put it outside and let Nature have its way....but it's still chugging away! We call it the pickle plant because the stem reminded our daughter of a giant pickle....didn't know it was poisonous!!!

Positive CMilam On Jan 5, 2012, CMilam from Holden Beach, NC wrote:

For years I've been trying to identify these 2 plants that I inherited. I almost fell out of my chair when I saw pictures of it online, finally, a euphorbia leuconeura:) I stuck these plants with my collection of plants on my porch. This 1 plant finally caught my attention when it popped seeds onto my plate during a picnic on the porch with my son. That year I found seedlings had sprouted up to 15ft away, even in the yard. I then started harvesting seeds & growing these guys for about 3 years now and have over 20 differents sizes growing. Truly an amazing plant to watch grow. Just glad I actually know what it is & exactly how to care for it & glad that its poisonous. Guess gloves would be a good idea. Thanks to everyone's comments & pictures that led me to finding the name of this plant:)

Positive amuhlou On Dec 19, 2011, amuhlou from East Lansing, MI wrote:

I have found this plant quite easy to care for, and have started a second one from the seedlings of my first. They aren't really finicky in terms of water or light, especially as they age. The young ones do tend to get top-heavy because the leaves grow faster than the stem, but a dowel rod and some loose string works perfectly to keep them growing up tall. My 5 year old plant now has a sturdy enough stem that it doesn't seem to need a support.

My plant has lived in both Ohio and Michigan indoors. During the summer, it could live outside provided there's a good amount of shade.

Positive RootyBio On Nov 23, 2011, RootyBio from Grant, MN wrote:

I have grown one of these from a two inch seedling to a magnificent, multi-branched, 54 inches tall. Once a year it sends out a barrage of seeds, purges leaves, and enters a significant growth spurt. It lives in a northern exposure bay window and enjoys bottom watering, but does not like hot, direct sun. Seedlings have been prolific. It's main trunk is supported with props and the challenge will be repotting.

Positive DoItinTheDirt On Oct 1, 2011, DoItinTheDirt from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

I now have about 200 Jewels on my screened in porch facing South in Jacksonville, FL. The oldest stands about 2 feet tall from the soil even though she has a number of curves. She also has a rare forked trunk which I've only seen ~ 1:100.They are delightful and wonderful house plants. I've given away plants to family and friends as far away as Phoenix, AZ. Also have given to friends in Cary, NC and Summerville, SC. Never had a problem with them being "poisonous" and wonder if that label's not exaggerated. I just wash with soap and water after handling.

Positive Mn_Lost_Boy On Aug 23, 2011, Mn_Lost_Boy from Marine on Saint Croix, MN wrote:

I have had my Jewel of Madagagar plant for 4 years now.
It is growing perfectly in my office under a good ceiling of florecent lights.
From the photos I have seen… my plant is one of the best.

If you want more info let me know.

Positive Phenix On Feb 24, 2011, Phenix from Fairbanks, AK wrote:

Dec 29, 2014

Hello everyone, I've got a bit of an emergency,

About a week ago, my younger brother accidentally broke the top year of growth almost completly off one of my 6-year olds. (I've started calling it Nick.) As its one of my original two, I really want to save it. I lightly strapped the top back on with some toilet paper and a straw (as that's all I had on hand at the time) and it's not dead yet. I was wondering if it would be best to snip the top off and try to grow it as a cutting, or if my inpromto splint will do. I'd really rather not kill the poor thing.

I got two, one week old sprouts from a math teacher of mine who has one in her classroom and a few at home, this was in my jounior year in early May 2009. I figured out the name in about three mounths and the next year I told her, the two I've gotten from her are as well as can be, loosing (consistantly) all but four leaves every october, and I got many seeds last summer, one of which sprouted about one to two months ago and hasn't grown since day seven, and started withering yesterday, I would like to know if my choise to try to grow it as a cut might work (as I have killed all other kinds of plants I've grown up till this point) I also got a seed from the same teacher's classroom plant last year and it has followed suit with it's two Auntie plants I have. I recommend this plant to everyone, no matter the color of your thumb, as mine is ash gray. Easy to care for indoors and loves light during the growing season, it's "milk" is a great pesticide, though I urge you not to touch it. keeping this plant with plants that have been infested with insects has helped them in my past trials (poisonous)

Positive stickey On Dec 12, 2010, stickey from Baraga, MI wrote:

I have had this plant, or babies from the original for decades now. I have recently moved, and brought several seedlings with me...I love this plant, and got several from a friend, but no one has ever known what it's called. I love the name, "MADAGASCAR JEWEL" is certainly a jewel of a plant! It is an odd looking/acting/growing plant, and fun to have. Excellent information everyone!!! Thank you!!!

Positive Crozpac On Dec 11, 2010, Crozpac from West Byfleet
United Kingdom wrote:

I received a seedling from a relation in Switzerland in 2001 or before and had it identified at RHS Wisley which is very close to me. (A MUST for visitors to the London area if they are keen on horticulture!-

It is very tough and can handle bad treatment although it may lose its leaves in the process. If this happens reduce watering accordingly, otherwise water moderately during growth and the recommendation from Wisley was to let the compost dry out between waterings.

However- I looked it up today and saw an article/extract from Science Direct mentioning the presence of well known tumour promoting chemicals in this plant and similar ones! I have no idea how much danger it presents but suggest you do not handle it too much or take it to bed with you. Google the reference below-
Tumor promoting diterpenes from Euphorbia leuconeura L.
Peter C

Positive jogriffen On Jul 25, 2010, jogriffen from Hanover, NH wrote:

I am now growing four of these and find them easy to grow, not finicky about watgering, and quite amusing to watch. It likes quite a bit of light, and tolerates haphazard watering. I have had no skin reactions from handling it. I've never seen one for sale, but It should be more widely available.

Positive AlaskanGrown On Jul 24, 2010, AlaskanGrown from Anchorage, AK wrote:

After 5 years of growing, loving, and being fascinated with this plant, I visited a friend who also has one and he informed of the name. The "Madagascar Jewel", how fitting. I've had no information on it's care but seem to have been doing something right . I live in Alaska, where the air is dry. In the winter not too many hours of sunlight and in the summer...well a lot of light. Every year leaves turn yellow and many fall, hence the space without leaves in the photo, but never stops growing. This year it has grown what I call arms. I've read about but haven't seen pictures of arms as of yet. It's seeds produce little plants every year. My question is would it be best to grow offspring from the seeds or the baby sprouts? I've always been know as the one to grow weird plants. The Madagascar Jewel has been by far the most satisfying of all and am so glad I finally found answers to my questions. Please feel free to comment or advise me of care during the winter here, it saddens me when it loses it's leaves.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Apr 19, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Yes,this plant seems to be a requirement for Biology greenhouses world over. In a greenhouse it reseeds easily and all over nearby potted plants,very easy and fast growing. As a houseplant, it's demanding with an opposite nature. Being sensitive to dry air and needing much bright light. Also very sensitive indoors to over or under watering. Tricky to maintain, and hat's off to those who have healthy Jewels as houseplants.

Positive PhotoBerto On Apr 19, 2009, PhotoBerto from Arnhem
Netherlands wrote:

Hello there,

I have seen this plant for the first time in the decontamination room of a nuclear power plant in Sweden and started looking for it. Some 2 years later I found it in a lab in Amsterdam where I started a new job. I got some seeds from a colleague and now my plants are about 5 years old. Now they start to flower. I will upload some pictures...


Arnhem, the Netherlands

Positive Kever67 On Nov 28, 2006, Kever67 from Swifterbant
Netherlands wrote:

Hi Madagascar Jewel-lovers!

I got this beauty about 5 years ago, when I was in Delft- The Netherlands, for work.
It's nice leaves attracted me.
It was a little plant from, I guess, one year old.
The motherplant was in bad shape, still I liked it a lot.
I didn't knew what type of plant I got.
One year later, when I was in Utrecht, at another working area, I saw a complete farm of these litle plants!
That's where I got the name 'Euphorbia Leuconeura', and I learned how to treath them. Well, like that's a problem!!
I also got a new plant there, from 5months old.
They mentioned that the plants don't like ceramic pots! Though I see a lot of pictures in those.
I saw a difference that the plants in plastic pots were more greener and bigger than the ones in ceramics.
I grow them in glass, what also turns out great.
I have grown about 25 plants, just to give them to whoever wants to take care of them.
They are not for sale in The Netherlands.

Regards, René

Positive the_tim On Mar 28, 2006, the_tim from Kenmore, WA (Zone 8a) wrote:

I have had four of these plants since early 2003, and they have grown to be quite healthy and full. I brought one of them to work about 6-9 months ago and it really took off. It was probably thanks to the large amount of indirect light that it got at work compared to the ones at home where we have few windows. It began sprouting new leaves like crazy, then became my first one to flower. And boy did it flower! I have since had over two dozen sprouts come up, shooting out of the ground as fast as I can find homes for them. Sadly though, I have recently moved to a new job and my once happy Madagascar Jewel has now become very sad. Leaves are turning yellow and falling off like crazy. I'm bringing it home today in the hopes that I can rehabilitate it. My best guess for why this is happening is that it gets too cold here at night and on the weekends. If anyone has any suggestions or insights feel free to email me at TimothyEllis at gmail dot youknowwhat.

Positive lisabar On Feb 11, 2006, lisabar from barcelona
Spain wrote:

A friend gave me a bit of her plant 5 years ago, and during this time it has gone throu times loosing almost every leaf, but after a while it started again. No babys yet, I even tried to give it a little help..I have the plant outside in summer and in a south window during winter.
Now I wonder if any of you know how to make it to split into moore branches...I would really be glad to know how to do it

Positive halfgreenthumb On Jun 6, 2005, halfgreenthumb from Virginia Beach, VA wrote:

I received a small plant from a co-worker in 1998, and was only told it was a "Jacob's ladder;" now I realize that is not the correct name, just a very generic plant name. I got this plant a week before dating my husband, so it is very sentimental to me.

Anyway, when we moved into our house, the plant (about 7 inches tall at the time, and 3 years old) wilted so badly. I think it somehow became stressed by the move. Even though it was in the same city, perhaps the humidity/air quality was different in the house. If any of you can help me figure out why that happened, please let me know. After visiting a nursery and being told it was a member of the Euphorbia class, I finally found this website with the real name of Madagascar Jewel. Luckily, the plant survived and is still growing normally.

All in all, I have the 7 year-old mother plant, one 4-year old "kid" plant, eight 1-year old "toddler" plants, and 13 new baby plants that sprouted up over the weekend. I have picked up so many seeds from the floor and planted them in the same pot. I think the germination length must be about 2-3 months or more.

I have found that clay pots work best, and that they should be placed in a somewhat sunny room. I have made the mistake of repotting the baby plants when they were too young, so I wait until they have at least 5-6 leaves before moving them to very small clay pots. I do not fertilize the plant at all, and water them only about 1-2 times every 10-20 days.

Positive dillpickle On May 3, 2005, dillpickle from Winnipeg,, MB (Zone 3a) wrote:

I grow this plant as a house plant,
and I really like it I can make cutting from the side shoots that grow on the plant.

Positive hiromori On Nov 6, 2004, hiromori from Bloomington, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

I inherited my Madagascar Jewel about three years ago from a biologist who originally obtained it as a gift from an university greenhouse. She had it for over five years, and I had it for three, so the plant is at least eight years old. During the past three years, it grew about a foot and produced more than a dozen babies, three of which have already become grandmas.
The most fascinating characteristic of this plant for me is the fact that it shoots out seeds. I've found a seedling in a planter placed at least 5 feet away from the mother plant. One morning, when I was closely examining the plant, I luckily witnessed one mature seedpod shoot out seeds (one seedpod contains three black, nearly perfect round seeds) in front of my eyes. When the seedpod is mature it is swallen and covered in clear honey, and when it explodes, it makes a significant-enough "popping" sound.

My Madagascar Jewel is currently growing well in partial shade near west and north-facing windows. Although it was clearly happier in a south-facing enclosed patio we had in our previous residence.

I feed the plant once a month during the vigorous growing season (June-August in midwest) using a mixture of a recommended amount of low nitrogen liquid fertilizer for cactus (1-7-6 with calcium) and a 1/4 of the recommended amount of regular balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) (to supplement low N in cactus fertilizer, since Madagascar Jewel is so leafy. I'm planning on trying out organic chicken manure (good source of N) next year instead of 20-20-20 fertilizer), and it seems to respond well.

I use 2 part Fox Farm's organic potting soil and 1 part coarse sand/perlite mixture. The potting soil should be well-draining, but not as much as cactus mix as Madagascar Jewel prefers to have more moisture than cactus.

I thoroughly water the plant until water comes out from the draining hole, and let the soil almost dry out before the next watering.

Positive Nantt On Oct 16, 2004, Nantt from Escanaba, MI wrote:

I was given a young Euphorbia leuconeura by a friend over three years ago. It grows well in a west window; turning it weekly keeps the stem straight; I water only when it's leaves begin to droop. It has produced about a dozen babies from its seeds landing in its pot or a neighboring pot. It is producing branches at the top now. What else can I expect? It is currently 30" tall.

Positive jenny21 On Aug 1, 2004, jenny21 from hendrik ido ambacht
Netherlands wrote:

I have had euphorbia leuconeura plants for over 10 years now and only now found it is an euphorbia leuconeura. During the years I have grown 2 new plants from the original plant. The mother plant died about 3 years ago. One of the 2 new plants now produced it's own offspring; I have 6 little plants at home. It is very easy to grow the plant, it shoots away the seeds, just place them back in the pot and give enough water.

Positive bubbysmom On Jul 10, 2004, bubbysmom from Bradenton, FL wrote:

After visiting the Sarasota Succulent Society last year, I came home with a very tiny little Euphorbia Leuconeura. The lovely ladies were almost hesitant to let such a novice take the only specimen home. I now have five of these delightful little guys. Each an offspring of the next. The oldest of them is only about 8 inches tall, and the internet specimens are much taller, is it from age, or should I change my care of it?

Positive MotherNature4 On Apr 24, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I grew this plant in a pot for several years. It is shaped like a miniature palm tree. The leaves are covered with a milky white bloom that adds to the interest.

I would like to grow it again if anyone knows a source in central Florida.

Positive Happenstance On Apr 23, 2004, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Native to the dark forests of Madagascar, this is a shade loving Euphorbia that self seeds freely. Grows to about 28" (70cm) tall.


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

, (2 reports)
Anchorage, Alaska
College, Alaska
Mesa, Arizona
Clayton, California
Sacramento, California
San Diego, California
Bartow, Florida
Bradenton, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Wellborn, Florida
Rigby, Idaho
Bloomington, Indiana
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Stow, Massachusetts
Baraga, Michigan
East Lansing, Michigan
Marine On Saint Croix, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
New York City, New York
Cary, North Carolina
Supply, North Carolina
Toronto, Ontario
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Cle Elum, Washington
Ellensburg, Washington
Ronald, Washington

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