Euphorbia Species, Pencil Milk Bush

Euphorbia mauritanica

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: mauritanica (maw-rih-TAWN-ee-ka) (Info)
Synonym:Euphorbia corallothamnus
Synonym:Euphorbia hydnorae
Synonym:Euphorbia melanosticta
Synonym:Euphorbia phymatoclada
Synonym:Tithymalus mauritanicus
View this plant in a garden


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


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


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Winter


Grown for foliage



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:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Ozark, Alabama

Gilbert, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Carlsbad, California

Castro Valley, California

Clayton, California

Los Angeles, California

Perris, California

San Anselmo, California

Spring Valley, California

Bartow, Florida

Portland, Oregon

Brownsville, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 25, 2015, buffalo72 from Portland, OR wrote:

Ive had great success with this plant here in Portland, OR, in a potted container on the patio. I am curious if anyone has ever trimmed or pruned one? and how does regrowth look? Mine has gotten a bit tall and leggy, and I'd like to cut it back a bit to a smaller size.


On Jan 23, 2015, poeciliopsis from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

Central Phoenix -- I have one Euphorbia mauritanica that I planted into the ground in fall 2013, after having kept it in its nursery pot for over a year. In spite of my neglect, it has done well and has almost doubled its size. It grows in a location with deciduous tree shade. It gets water every two weeks in summer and none in winter. I covered it during the late December freeze this year (2014/15) which went to 26F in my yard. The E. mauritanica came through fine and my suspicion is that it is quite frost hardy. I think it would prefer a sunnier site, as the stems are elongated and droopy.
Jan 2016 -- Just to add that my E. mauritanica, after being robust for 3 years, up and died of rot last fall. We had a relatively rainy late summer/fall monsoon season and together with... read more


On Nov 19, 2008, GaWeedpicker from Folkston, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I was given a piece of this from a friend who says she's heard it called "Naked Lady." It's a very small piece that came from the top of a cutting given to her by a relative. What is the best way to grow this plant?


On Jan 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Interesting shrub of pencil-like branching upright stems. Year old growth grey but new growth green and sometimes has leaves. Bright yellow but very small flowers at tips of new growth in winter (possibly more often). Very brittle and caustic, toxic sap oozes at the slightest damage. South African native