Sunday, May 22, 2011

Euphorbia Xantii: The Cherry Blossom of the Desert Garden


Euphorbia Xantii: The flowers, close up!

What I love most about the Euphorbia Xantii is how it reminds me so much of Japanese Cherry Blosoms (Sakura). The little pink flowers cluster on the branches and create sweet, delicate clouds. And while the flowers are much smaller than a regular sakura blossom, the 5-petaled bloom is reminiscent in shape. The branches are thin which give the overall plant a sort of airiness. And also, because this plant is also a rhizome, it reminds me of bamboo as well.


Sakura Blossoms: The Flowers Close Up!

I was so happy when I found this plant for sale. While I think it's common to see in the wild in Baja California / Mexico, I don't think it's very often seen in collections. Naturally, I had to grab this darling desert plant for our home. Since it has the potential to grow tall and shrub like, we intend to keep it in a skinny container and display it in the courtyard. Our hope is that it will grow in height while inhibiting it's sideways growth. Imagine a dreamy umbrella of little pink flowers! ::happy sigh!:: The best feature of the Euphorbia Xantii is that the flowers appear in spring and will last through until summer! (That's quite a long time!)

It is a drought tolerant plant which will require little watering and is native to Baja California. The common complaint is how invasive the plant is which is why we opted to keep it contained. If planted in the ground, it is not hard to remove excess growth, but the milky sap is difficult to avoid. (Remember, euphorbias contain a sap in their branches which is harmful to humans!) I think it is a rather scary looking shrub -- I couldn't imagine trying to maintain this mess:


To learn more about invasive desert plants, there is a great article on davesgarden.com. You can read it at this link: Invasive Succulents in My Yard by By Geoff Stein


Our plant ID tag says:
Euphorbia xantii
HBG 27819 ex Virginia Martin
Ed Gay coll.: Mexico, Baja Calif., Bahia
de Los Angeles. Shrub 2 to 3 m tall & wide.
Showy pink spring fls. Sun. Hardy 20's $12.50

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