euphorbia blackbird

Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’

The genus of Euphorbia contains about 2000 species, all of which contain a milky sap that is caustic or poisonous.  Needless to say, deer and gophers stay away from these very interesting, useful and attractive plants.  Euphorbia pulcherrima is the poinsettia of Christmas.  What we call the flowers are actually bracts that surround the very small true flowers.  This is the case with all Euphorbias.  There are many wonderful forms of this genus for the garden.  E. characias wulfenii has grey-green leaves and clusters of chartreuse bracts with red centers and a variegated form, ‘Tasmanian Tiger’, has white and green leaves and bracts.  ‘Blackbird’, a hybrid, has very dark reddish purple leaves with bracts that are almost black to yellowish.  E. x martinii has purple tinged dark green leaves and chartreuse bracts while E. x martinii ‘Ascot Rainbow’ has variegated leaves and bracts in yellow, green and bronze-red.  E. myrsinites grows only to six inches and sports blue-grey leaves with chartreuse bracts.  E. ‘Diamond Frost’ is an annual here and has an airy look with its small white flowers and small leaves.  There is a Euphorbia for almost every spot in the garden.