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Healthy Harvesters



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Euphorbia antisphyllitica

The low-growing shrub has clusters of thin, upright, bluish-green, pencil-like stems that grow in clumps to about three feet. The flowers are small, pinkish-white and occur in clusters on mostly leafless stems in spring through early summer. The common name of this plant means “little candle,” because the stems are covered with a waxy substance.  Use it in raised planters, narrow planting strips, and small rock gardens. It can be planted with other low-water plants and succulents as an accent. It is native to the Trans-Pecos area of southwestern Texas and the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico, growing in Durango, Chihuahua, and Coahuila.

It is a moderate grower that takes full sun with plenty of reflected heat. This succulent needs little water once established, but benefits from occasional irrigation during the hot, dry summer. Prune it heavily to the ground if the plant becomes scraggly and to hasten new growth.

A high-grade wax is produced by boiling the plant in large vats, which we have seen in process on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The wax has many uses, in making candles, soap, ointments, sealing wax, phonograph records, insulation material, shoe polish, floor polish, waterproofing, and lubricants.

Height: 1’-3’
Spread: 1’-3’
Bloom: Year Round
Light: Full Sun
Water: Low
Zone: 8, 9, 10
Origin: Texas, New Mexico, Mexico

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