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Euphorbia x pasteurii


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Euphorbia x pasteurii


Availability: Out of stock

Packet Size:10 Seeds


Euphorbia x pasteurii has only been on the garden scene for about four years so it is a fairly new plant name to most gardeners. This recently introduced spurge has been created by crossing E. mellifera with the very rare E. stygiana which is now almost extinct in its home on the Azores Islands.

Many people will know of the Honey Spurge - Euphorbia mellifera, an evergreen shrub from the Canaries whose flowers exude a sweet honey smell. A much rarer but botanically related species which hails from the Azores is Euphorbia stygiana, a more thicket forming shrub rarely exceeding 3ft in this country and often wider than it is tall. The evergreen foliage is similar in shape to mellifera but is wider and the colour is a deeper green.

Euphorbia x pasteurii is a great new garden shrub resembling a classy dense rhododendron in leaf but with yellow honey scented flowers from April to June. It makes a better garden plant than either of its parents and it is fully hardy.
It has a very attractive, rounded architectural form with stiff stems that are clothed in narrow, leathery evergreen dark green leaves with a distinctive, creamy-white central midrib. From early to mid summer these stems are topped with clusters of honey-scented, bronze flowers followed by small seed pods.

Sowing: Sow in late spring to early summer.
Soak the seeds for two hours in warm water before sowing. Euphorbia plants do not like root disturbance, so it is best to sow the seeds in place of growth or to use deep plugs or pots. Grow at 20 to 26°C (68 to 78°F) . Be patient, germination is generally very slow, it may occur in two to three weeks at but sometimes can take a few months.

Sowing Direct:
Sow directly where they are to grow, once temperatures have risen and the soil has warmed. Sow on the surface of the soil and keep damp but not wet.

Sowing Indoors:
Surface sow the seeds into plugs or small pots using a good seed sowing mix or well drained soil and cover seed with vermiculite, do not exclude light.
Prick out each seedling as it becomes large enough to handle, transplant into larger pots to grow on. Gradually acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out. Plant 30cm (12in) apart in sun and ordinary well drained soil.

Euphorbia need full sun to partial shade, with a well-drained soil mix. The plants should be well watered and be allowed to dry before watering again. The plants are native to poor soils and do not need fertiliser or excessive water. Too much of either will provide lush growth but at the expense of flowers.
Hardy in sheltered areas but needs protection from cold winds. Cut back to the ground before winter frosts

Cut Flowers:
To produce longer lasting cut flowers, sear the cut ends over a flame or dip them in boiling water.

Plant Uses:
Borders and Beds. Cut Flowers.

As with all members of the Euphorbiaceae, plants and seed are toxic if eaten.
When working with spurges, plants should be handled with care, especially when sap is showing. Always wear gloves since the milky sap is poisonous and a potential skin irritant. The latex is corrosive to the skin and can cause burns or dermatitis.

Euphorbia x pasteurii is a recently introduced spurge has been created by crossing E. mellifera, native to the Canary Islands and Madeira, with the very rare E. stygiana which is now almost extinct in its home on the Azores Islands.
Euphorbia appear as natives across the world and are one of the most interesting and diverse genus, featuring an incredible 2,000 plus widely varying species, including many good garden plants. The plant belongs to the same family as the Poinsettia, Euphorbia Pulcherrima.

The genus was named after Euphorbes, the personal physician to the Numidian king Juba II, who is said to have discovered the toxic and curative potential of the white and milky sap in the plant.
The word Euphorbus derives from the Greek eu meaning ‘good’ and phorbe meaning ‘pasture or fodder’ thus giving euphorbos the meaning ‘well fed.’
The common name ‘Spurge’ derives from the old French espurgier meaning 'to purge', as the sap of herbaceous euphorbias used to be used as a purgative, a laxative.

Originally bred at Oxford Botanic Garden two plants, E. mellifera and E. stygiana were grown sufficiently close together for them to hybridise which was initially not thought possible. As it gradually became apparent that seedlings had hybrid vigour, a temporary name was given as E. stygiana 'Devil's Honey' (the flowers still have the honey scent).
A student called George Pasteur did the research work and concluded that hybrid plants were roughly 50% each of mellifera and stygiana. The plant was consequently named Euphorbia x pasteurii after George and has been registered as such.
The meaning of the parent species are: mellifera means 'honey-bearing' and is taken from the Greek meli meaning ‘honey’, and fera meaning ‘bearing something’. The name stygiana is derived from a classical Greek name for resin-producing plants.

The name Euphorbia is named for Euphorbus, the Greek physician of Juba II, the King of Mauretania.
Juba was educated in Rome and married the daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.
He was apparently interested in botany and had written about an African cactus-like plant he had found or which he knew about from the slopes of Mt. Atlas which was used as a powerful laxative. That plant may have been Euphorbia resinifera, and like all Euphorbias had a latexy exudate.
Euphorbus had a brother named Antonius Musa who was the physician to Augustus Caesar in Rome. When Juba heard that Caesar had honoured his physician with a statue, he decided to honour his own physician by naming the plant he had written about after him.
The word Euphorbus derives from the Greek eu meaning ‘good’ and phorbe meaning ‘pasture or fodder’ thus giving euphorbos the meaning ‘well fed.’
Some sources suggest that Juba was amused by the play upon words and chose his physician's name for the plant because of its succulent nature and because of Euphorbus' corpulent physique.
One species of Euphorbia, E. regis-jubae, was named in honour of King Juba II.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 10 Seeds
Seed Form Natural
Family Euphorbiaceae
Genus Euphorbia
Species pasteurii
Synonym Initially under the erroneous name E. stygiana.
Common Name Spurge
Hardiness Hardy Perennial
Flowers Honey-scented, yellow flowers.
Natural Flower Time late July to September.
Height 1.5m (5ft) if left unpruned
Spread 1.5m (5ft) if left unpruned
Position Full Sun to Partial Shade.
Time to Sow Sow in early spring to early autumn.
Germination Be patient, germination is generally very slow

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