Euphorbia, Cushion Spurge 'Blackbird'


Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Cultivar: Blackbird
Additional cultivar information:(PP17178, aka Nothowlee)
Hybridized by Howard-Leeding
Registered or introduced: 2006



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage

This plant is resistant to deer

Foliage Color:




12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Brea, California

Carlsbad, California

Glendale, California

La Canada Flintridge, California

Oakhurst, California

San Jose, California(3 reports)

San Leandro, California

Santa Barbara, California

Santa Rosa, California

Tallahassee, Florida

Wichita, Kansas

Catonsville, Maryland

Cockeysville, Maryland

Madison, Mississippi

Sarcoxie, Missouri

Riverhead, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Portland, Oregon

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

Lexington, South Carolina

Sumter, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Atlanta, Texas

Austin, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Lexington, Virginia

Graham, Washington

Olympia, Washington

Vancouver, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 25, 2020, nbrodie from San Jose, CA wrote:

Everytime I see one of these they are either half or completely dead. I kept one for a couple years in a container but it just got hit by mealybugs. That seems to be the most common culprit. And they hit hard. I would not recommend.


On May 5, 2019, 00264167 from herne bay,
United Kingdom wrote:

Blackbird is the best black foliage euphorbia, better than purpurea as the flowers are black too. The downside is its not that vigourous with about a third of the growth speed of wulfenii or martinii and its difficult to get to root from cuttings which is probably why you never see it for sale very often.
The slow growth is also a problem as it must be well sited and grown as if it gets set back by anything then it takes along time to recover if it ever does.

Ive also never seen it seed anywhere after 3 years of growing it (unlike wulfenii).
It does seem to take woodland edge type conditions well and ive dug it up and moved it on a few occasions without it being affected, again this is in contrast to wulfenii which often/usually dies if dug up.
I grow q... read more


On May 24, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is less hardy than E. amygdaloides 'Rubra'. Unlike the latter, it is not reliably hardy here. Here it is mainly useful for seasonal containers, not as a border plant.


On Jun 11, 2013, Cville_Gardener from Clarksville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Blackbird Cushion Spurge is tolerant of most soils including clay, both dry and moist, as long as they drain fairly quickly. It doesn't like being in waterlogged soils for prolonged periods. It can tolerate drought but looks better with an occasional deep watering. It usually doesn't need any supplemental watering in my location.


On Apr 29, 2013, palebo7 from Dallas, TX wrote:

I love Euphorbias for their unique foliage and flowering characteristics.

As a landscape design professional, I am always "testing" plants in my garden - a half acre site in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, TX
Most of our property is shaded, and it's a rocky, alkaline soil - although Ive made a lot of raised beds with better bed prep.

While Euphorbias are said to only be for full sun - part shade, I have some planted in a fair amount of shade / dappled sun light and it performs quite well.
The E. Blackbird is in the most shade, but I also have E. Ascot Rainbow, E.Tasmanian Tiger, E. Myrsinites, and E. Shorty.
Of course the ones in full sun are much more full, but still they don't seem to mind the shade.


On Dec 31, 2010, Kaelkitty from Robertstown,
Australia (Zone 10a) wrote:

Discovered by Mark Howard and Simon Leeding at Notcutts Nursery in Suffolk England. Introduced to the horticultural trade by Plant Haven Inc. It is a sport of E. 'Red Wing' and therefore shares the same parentage. The full name of the plant is thus Euphorbia martinii 'Blackbird'. Euphorbia martinii is Euphorbia amygdaloides X Euphorbia characias.


On May 8, 2010, HostaHost from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant is definitely one worth having! It is so unusual; passersby who visit almost always do a second-take. The leaves are almost iridescent - they seem to shimmer with the rainbow of subtle colors. The chartreuse colored flowers absolutely makes for a stunning combination.


On Nov 15, 2007, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Euphorbia 'Blackbird' is outstanding! It's the first year in our gardens and even though it hasn't bloomed yet the dark foliage is wonderful combined with gold foliage plants to create a real stand out in the garden. An evergreen perennial that appreciates a pruning after flowering in the spring. Caution: as with all Euphorbias, avoid skin contact with the milky sap.