Euphorbia Species, Desert Candle

Euphorbia abyssinica

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: abyssinica (a-biss-IN-ee-kuh) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia acrurensis
Synonym:Euphorbia aethiopum
Synonym:Euphorbia controversa
Synonym:Euphorbia disclusa


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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:

Sun to Partial Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:




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:

By dividing the rootball

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

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


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

Dothan, Alabama

Scottsdale, Arizona

Castro Valley, California

Clayton, California

Hayward, California

San Diego, California

Spring Valley, California

Torrington, Connecticut

Apopka, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Huntersville, North Carolina

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 15, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Long after the big freeze of 07 I am surprised at how well it did. About 12' tall and now multi branching it is a lush gloss green. Interesting when younger but still about 4-5',it was frost damaged at 32. At the time it was under the roof line.Now,I have learned that is a very bad place to to keep tropicals in a freeze-roof's act like waterfalls of super cold air. It was moved away from the roof a couple or three years ago and has not had any cold damage since.
The only problem since then, is it developed a lean that became pronounced during heavy rains last year. For now it has been tied back.
2010: I see that mine is getting the twisting weeping arms like those famous plants at Lotusland. If you like that look-E.abyssinica is the one to get.


On Sep 10, 2005, RWhiz from Spring Valley, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is a nice upright tree. It doesn't have the usual spine problems along the stem ridges (they are tiny) that one gets with other Euphorbias. Sometimes when the plant is heavily laden with fruit, it will bend the stem segments and eventually that segment will break off.

It has a very clean and neat appearance otherwise. Highly recommended, low-maintenance tree.


On Nov 8, 2004, hanna1 from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Euphorbia abyssinica, Synonym: Euphorbia acrurensis, Euphorbia grandis. Needs protection from frost. Min avg temps 50F(10C), From Ethiopia, Can grow up to 15ft tall, branches with 8 angles (4 for E.acruensis), thorns in pairs. Moderate water when growing.


On Feb 24, 2004, Forkboy wrote:


I have been growing this plant for about 7 years now in Seattle. Keep it out of direct summer sun as sunburn will occor. They are fast growing. I started out with a clump of 4 plants under 2" tall and now after seperating they range from 4' to 6' tall. A wonderful house plant ( at least in the NW ) grows indoors year round with houselight and warmth. Dosent appear to like
Cactus Juice brand fertilizer. I usually get leaves around Easter and the trick is to keep them for the summer.


On Feb 16, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant has been a struggle for me to identify clearly for many years as it has not been well described anywhere that I can find, and photos of it conflict greatly in the literature and on the web. Additionally, the synonym E acurensis is also problematic as plants sold as this in nurseries (and this is a very common situation) do NOT match the 'current understanding' of what Aloe abyssinica looks like. I am still not 100% sure, but from photos displayed of E abyssinica plant in Euphorbia Journal, I am think I finally have the puzzle worked out... would appreciate any confirmation or arguments otherwise. Thank you.

Euphorbia abyssinica, as far as I understand it today (jan 2011) is a candellabra-like plant (single stem with many upright, relatively parallel br... read more


On Aug 28, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Like all Euphorbia HANDLE WITH CARE, the latex/sap is dangerous and can cause skin rash, itching and general discomfort.