Monday, 13 April 2015

Euphorbia

Strange word 'Euphorbia' , sounds like something you should be either extremely happy about or frightened of. I toyed with the titles of 'Euphoric over Euphorbia' or 'Euphorbia phobias' but decided against.

Today, well into April,  I'm using a picture of this vivid green member of the Spurge family as a symbol of delight that we finally have a weather forecast that promises five days of sunshine in a row. Yipee! It's been a long winter and almost non existent Spring.  I'm still not sure if some of the frost-hit plants in the garden will make a full recovery, but the Euphorbia has been bursting forth for several weeks, proclaiming that winter is over, despite the rain, clouds and wind (and my reliance on an electric blanket).



Should you wish to bring any branches of this attractive plant indoors, be extremely cautious. The stems exude a milky sap which is extremely caustic. I can tell you from bitter experience that you don't want to get it anywhere near your eyes.  We were once invited to lunch by people we didn't know too well. I prepared a lovely bouquet of roses and euphoria, wrapped in very trendy raffia and tissue paper. I rinsed my hands in water and rubbed my eyes.  By the time we got to the lunch date, my eyes were half closed and tears were running down my swollen face.  We weren't invited back! 

15 comments:

  1. Glad you're moving into warmer times... here too. How long before we long for chilly nights again? Euphorbia... great name! Axxx

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    1. I should also have mentioned that when the seed pods ripen, they shoot the seeds out like a peashooter. Great fun if you have them in a bouquet on your kitchen table.

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  2. I always liked this plant but I must never have handled it. Had it in the garden back in Ireland.

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    1. It would look good in your new rock garden.

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  3. Ah, bless you - not fair! I would invite you back in a heart beat : ) I am glad the sunshine returned to Bodrum - we're having a nice patch of spring in Surrey, fingers crossed for the continuation, cok sevgiler, Ozlem x

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    1. You are quite near to Sarah Raven's cutting garden. She uses this plant a lot. visit if you have chance, In fact you should give classes there.

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  4. . . fascinating plant - there are hundreds of species/sub-species around the world.Euphorbia helioscopia (Sun Spurge) aka 'Madwoman's Milk' has an array of medicinal uses (according to Culpepper's) - 1-12 mix with oil makes a rub/compress that relieves aches and cures lameness. Mixed with Oil of Bay and bear's grease it cures scurvy and baldness. Similarly cures lethargy, apoplexy, sciatica, etc. Taken internally it 'frets the entrails and scorches the whole body'. It is also said to 'provoke lust and heal numbness of the privities' - according to Culpepper's, not me - a sort of poor man's Viagra, then! ;-)

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    1. I didn't dare include any "cures" in case someone sued me for 3rd degree burns

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  5. B to B, Well, after Allen's endorsement, I'd better get out there and pick some of our local variety which has popped up around our island (but only touching them with gloves!). I forgot what their name was, thanks for the reminder. Everything died in our garden except for the trees - boo hoo. Oh well, good business this year for our local plant lady.

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    1. This plant is difficult to kill off.

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  6. Hello,

    The acidic tones of Euphorbia are a great complement to so many other colours. In our gardening days, we had many forms of this plant, each of which added drama and interest to whichever planting plans they were included in.

    But, you are right to warn against the caustic sap. It really can bring unpleasant if not dangerous reactions, especially if the sap is allowed to make contact with the skin in sun. Nevertheless, this is a great plant. Euphorbia mellifera being an absolute favourite.

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    1. I love the acid greens with tulips.

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  7. Pretty and caustic? That was me in my youth! These days, I think I could do with a little of Alan's tonic for my privities! I hope the summer makes up for some of the poor weather you've had.

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    1. Had a few clouds yesterday but back to sun today. Fingers crossed for big outdoor party tonight.

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  8. My mother loved euphorbia and had several varieties in her lovely garden, but I never knew about its caustic sap.

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