I walk into the room and I see it, covered from root to tip in thorns, ethereal, as though it was sent down from the heavens. But, this was no cosmic gift or sign from god, it was simply a Euphorbia Trigona, sitting mischievous on my host’s, oak coffee table. I approach, but not being able to contain my excitement, begin to run. The green leaves are a festival for the eyes, reminding me of times long past, walking through the clump of trees behind my childhood home.
Often mistaken for a cactus, the Euphorbia Trigona is quickly distinguished from their prickly cousins by their origins in Southern Africa and Madagascar. Part of the genus Euphorbia, often called spurge, this verdant beauty is related to such commonly known plants as the poinsettia and the antique spurge. However, the Euphorbia Trigona does not flower like their siblings.
I am entranced by the Euphorbia Trigona’s leaves and thorns, making closer inspection inevitable. When I cut into the stem of the plant, a milky white substance bleeds onto by fingernail. Unlike cacti, Euphorbias contain “latex,” a liquid which irritates the skin on contact. This fantastic defense mechanism is used effectively to ward off hungry herbivores looking for their next meal.
Asking my host, I discover that this sprout was sourced from a larger specimen. The original plant was nearly six feet tall, and stood proud like an emerald chandelier. What a sight that would have been to behold, but alas, I am content with this smaller, more adorable potted paragon of purity.
A beautiful specimen indeed, which pulled my attention from the woman with whom I had come to visit. Finding that the spark had dissipated was not nearly as upsetting as when I was asked to leave that cozy apartment, with its crowning jewel still resting calmly on the table.
The Euphorbia Trigona blesses my nights, creating visions of thorns and leaves until I can no longer bear to fall asleep, lest I become addicted to the comfort of my dreams.
Sadly, I never returned to that apartment. I never had a chance to examine the plant further, or to truly bask in its magnificence. I’m sure that I will see more Trigona in my lifetime, but I’m certain that I’ll never see another so majestic.
Euphorbia Trigona 10/10
Aesthetic colour: Emerald
Height: 2’-9’ tall
Climate: Prefers 15°-27° C (Perfect as a house plant)
Verdict: This easy-to-care-for house plant will thrive among your succulents and cactuses, but remember to water it as you would any other potted plant! A great addition to any corner, nook, entrance, or patio, as long as there is plenty of indirect sun to go around.
Alvin O. Vera is our plant expert at The Daily Drunk.