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Euphorbia milii

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms: Euphorbia milii var. splendens, Euphorbia bojeri,, Euphorbia splendens var. bojeri, Euphorbia breonii, Euphorbia bojeri var. mucronulata, Euphorbia , Euphorbia splendens, Acalypha bojeri
Common Name: Crown of Thorns, Christ Thorn, Christ Plant, Christ's Thorn
Full Sun: 6-8h Little Water Coastal Green Roof Interiorscape / Indoor Plant Ornamental Flowers Dry Soils / Drought Shallow Media Woody Herbaceous


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub (Herbaceous)
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Dwarf


Native Distribution Western Madagascar

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form A scrambling succulent, containing milky sap, multi-branched with spines all over branches.
Others - Plant Morphology Stem: Stems obscurely 3 to 5 angled, greyish-brown, covered with many prominent grey spines. Foliage: Leaves simple, alternate, obovate to oblong-oblanceolate, green, margin entire, 1.5 to 5 cm long, 0.8 to 1.8 cm wide, clustered near apical branches; stipules forming spines, 1 to 1.3 cm long; petiole absent or subsessile. Flower: Cyathia (inflorescences consisting of cuplike clusters of bracts enclosing unisexual flowers) in subapical, dichasial (having two lateral flowers originating from opposite points beneath a terminal flower) cymes; each cluster bears 2 bright red (pink, white or yellow in some cultivars), broadly ovate bracts beneath the miniscule flowers, up to 1.5 cm across; male flowers numerous in each cyathium, calyx, absent, corolla absent, stamen 1; female flowers 1 in each cyathium; calyx absent; corolla absent; pistil 1. Fruit Fruit capsule 3-lobed-ovoid, 3.5 mm long, 4 mm wide, smooth and glabrous; 1 seed per capsule; Seed ovoid-terete, 2.5 mm long, 2 mm wide, brown, reticulate (net-veined).
Cultivation Prefers well-drained soil that can be watered regularly and is moderately salt tolerant. Though very drought tolerant, regular watering will keep it from defoliating and encourages blooming. Prone to botrytis or powdery mildew when water collect on the leaves and flowers. Propagated by tip cuttings, whereby bleeding is stopped and allowed to dry and callus over a few days before inserting into propagation media. Rooting occurs in a few weeks.
Etymology The genus epithet ‘Euphorbia’ is derived from 'Euphorbus', the Greek physician to Juba II, King of Mauretania. Juba II was treated by a plant (probably the Resin Spurge, Euphorbia resinifera) with powerful medicinal properties, of which he named after his Greek physician 'Euphorbus'. The species epithet is named after Baron Milius, a former governor of the island of Bourbon, who introduced the species in France in 1821. Its common names like ‘Crowns of Thorns’, ‘ Christ Plant’ and ‘Christ’s Thorn’ were derived from the belief that during Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, the crown of thorns was made from the stems of this plant. Ironically, the stems of this plant are pliable and can be entwined into circular weavings. There was also substantial evidence that the species was brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Flowers
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Poor Infertile Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Dry Soils / Drought, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Landscape Uses General, Green Roof, Container Planting, Interiorscape/ Indoor Plant, Coastal
Thematic Landscaping Rockery / Desert Garden, Naturalistic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Spines/Thorns - Stem/Branch, Irritant - Sap

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Propagation Method Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Thin
Foliar Modification Spine (axillary)
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.5 (Shrub & Groundcover - Dicot)

Non - Foliar and Storage

Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)
Specialised Storage Organ(s) Aboveground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Pink, Red, Yellow / Golden
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Image Repository



Master ID 710
Species ID 2005
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 14 October 2021.