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Euphorbia grandicornis Blanc

Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Common Name: Cow's Horn Euphorbia
Full Sun: 6-8h Little Water Dry Soils / Drought Succulent Plant


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Succulent Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 2 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 2 m


Native Distribution Kenya, Swaziland, Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Desert / Semi-Desert)
Preferred Climate Zone Desert / Arid
Local Conservation Status Exotic (Horticultural / Cultivated Only)
CITES Protection True (Appendix II)

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Succulent shrub up to 2 m tall.
Foliage Minute leaves are produced between the spines and later drop off, leaving the stems to do the bulk of photosynthesis.
Stems Angular stems are winged on 3-4 corners and up to 10 cm wide. The edges are lined with grey to brownish paired, fused spines (3-7 cm long) that form the shape of bull horns. The stem either protrudes below the spines creating an undulating edge or lies flat below the spines. The stem constricts and then expands at regular intervals of about 15 cm long, forming a zigzag pattern.
Flowers Tiny, reduced flowers are arranged in an inflorescence known as a cyathium. The yellow cyathia resemble small, cup-shaped flowers and typically occur in groups of 3 along the tip of the stem. One cyathia is stalkless and composed of only male flowers, while the other 2 are stalked and bisexual.
Fruits Dry, dehiscent fruits are purple capsules with 3 lobes.
Habitat Occurs on hot, dry soils formed from clay, sand or grit deposits from running water.
Cultivation This species should be planted in an area protected from strong winds. Otherwise, the stems may knock against each other and the spines may cause injuries.

Landscaping Features

Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Stems
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Hedge / Screening
Usage Hazard - Cons Irritant - Sap

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Little Water
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Stem Cutting (Herbaceous)


Foliage Retention Deciduous
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Foliar Modification Reduced / Needle-like
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Monoecious
Flower Colour(s) Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Inflorescence Type Cyathium
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Purple
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 31930
Species ID 6332
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: 20 August 2021.