euphorbia resinifera

Moroccan Mound Succulents (Euphorbia resinifera): How To Grow and Care

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With its easy-to-care-for nature and fast-growing habit, this attractive mounding succulent is sure to spruce up any indoor and garden scene. These plants are the perfect specimens as textural accents in xeriscapes or as container plants for your home. 

Looking to add Euphorbia resinifera to your collection? Read on to find more about this beautiful plant and how to care for it.

What is a Moroccan Mound Spurge?

Euphorbia resinifera, also known as Moroccan mound spurge or resin spurge, is a low-growing succulent from Morocco where it naturally grows in the slopes of the Atlas Mountains (1).

The genus Euphorbia was named after Euphorbus, the physician of King Juba II of Namibia while the species name resinifera was coined in reference to the active compound found in its latex (2).

This plant has a long history of cultivation. Like all members of the family Euphorbiaceae, the Moroccan mound contains a milky white sap called latex. The dried latex of the Morrocan mound, known as Euphorbium, was used in ancient medicine. Later, it was found to contain resiniferatoxin, a compound tested to have analgesic properties (2,3).

A succulent shrub, the resin spurge plant grows up to only 60 cm tall. Despite its small size, it is a prolific sucker and readily forms dense, multi-stemmed mounds about 2 meters in diameter. The stems are blue-green in color with four sides and along the corners are pairs of short brown spikes, giving it a look similar to a cactus. In late winter to early spring, the plant produces small, yellow inflorescences called cyathia (4).

How to Care for Moroccan Mound Cactus

Moroccan mound cacti are one of the most easy-to-care-for succulents. They can thrive even with minimal care. But if you want your resin spurge to have the best growth, here are some caring tips for these care-free succulents.

How Much Light Does Moroccan Cactus Need?

These plants are not very particular with their lighting needs. They do well in partial shade, but the most compact growth is achieved in a bright and sunny position. You can grow them outside or as potted houseplants. As a rule of thumb for most houseplants, allow your plants to get at least 6 hours of full sun to get the brightest colors (4,5).

How Often Should You Water Moroccan Mound Plants?

Moroccan plants require very little watering. As with other succulents, they tend to develop rot with too much moisture. Allow the soil to dry up before the next watering. Additional watering is only needed during the hottest months of summer (4).

What is the Optimum Temperature and Humidity for Moroccan Mound Plants?

These plants have the best growth in average temperatures with low to average humidity. They are also heat and cold tolerant and can endure winter lows reaching down to 20oF (-6.7 °C) (4,5).

What is the Best Potting or Growing Media for Moroccan Mound Plants?

These euphorbia plants are not picky when it comes to soil. They can grow in alkaline and saline soils. But remember that these plants are prone to rot with excess moisture so make sure that the potting media has that extra drainage (4).

How Do You Propagate Moroccan Mound Plants?

Because of their prolific growth, moroccan mound succulents are very easy to propagate. Propagation can be done by cutting an offset, washing the latex off, and allowing it to dry for a few days. Once the cut wound has healed and formed a callus, you can plant your cutting in a separate pot (4).

Are Moroccan Mound Plants Toxic?

As with all members of Euphorbiaceae, Moroccan mound cactus produces a toxic milky white sap. This sap, although having medicinal properties, is also an irritant, particularly dangerous to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.

Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, while skin contact with the sap can cause redness, swelling, and blisters.  It is important to wear gloves and pay extra care when handling these plants (6). 

For more cacti to grow, check out these cactus varieties.

References

Reference List:

(1) ‘Name Search: Euphorbia resinifera O. Berg.’ Tropicos.org. Missouri Botanical Garden. 2021. (online) http://www.tropicos.org/Name/12806689.

(2) Quattrocchi U. ‘CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Name, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set)’. CRC Press. 2016. P 1693.

(3) Appendino G., Szallasi A. ‘Euphorbium: Modern Research on its active principle, resiniferatoxin, revives and ancient medicine’. Life Sciences 60(10). 1997. PP 681-696.

(4)‘Euphorbia resinifera’. NC State Extension. 2021. (online) https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/euphorbia-resinifera/.

(5) ‘Plant Highlight: Euphorbia resinifera’. The Ruth Bancroft Garden, Inc. 2015. (online) https://www.ruthbancroftgarden.org/plants/euphorbia-resinifera/.

(6) Boericke W. ‘New Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica and Repertory’. B. Jain Publishers. 2001. P. 272.

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*image by siloto/depositphotos

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