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  Euphorbia lactea "White Ghost"  (forma variegata) CACTUSPEDIA       

 


Euphorbia lactea cv. WHITE GHOST
This Euphorbia doesn't even look like a real plant and has an overall creamy white or greyish coloration.

 

Description: E. lactea WHITE (or “Grey”) GHOST is a a striking and very popular cultivar lacking in most of the chlorophyll bearing tissues of it's green counter part. This Euphorbia doesn't even look like a real plant and has an overall creamy white or greyish coloration. Triangular stems grow in dense candelabra form with distinctive silhouette and grow up to over 3. Very good in dry indoor situations, it is a much hardier plant than usually listed that does fine on its own roots. It and can also be grown outdoors in warmer climate even to full sun, though probably morning sun would be the most ideal situation. It is a relatively slow grower, at least compared to the 'regular' form of E. lactea. It is a beautiful plant that makes an incredible landscape plant.
Referred to as a “variegated" "sport” or "chimeral" variantit it can be defined as a plant varying from the "norm" that usually shows some small green patch interpretable as a reversion back to the green standard form.
Stems: Erect, approx 5 cm in diameter, constricted into oblong segments.
Ribs: 3(or 4) slightly winged, sinuate.
Leaves: It have have only the tiniest hint of leaves at the growing tips in summer. The leaves are rudimentary, circular, reddish, up to 3 mm in diameter, sessile, deciduous,
Spines: Stipular spines tiny but sharp, paired, widely divergent along the margins, 2-6 mm long.

 

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Family: Euphorbiaceae

Scientific name:  Euphorbia lactea Haworth
In: Synops. Pl. Succ. 127, 1812 CV. White Ghost

Origin:  Grows wild, in tropical Asia. Widely cultivated in west Indies, Florida and in many tropical areas world wide. Widely escaped from cultivation and in many places forming dense thickets.

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.

Common Names include: Dragoon bones tree, Dragon bones, Candelabra spurge, Candelabra Cactus, Cactus Candelabre, Caper Spurge, Candle-stick tree,

Synonyms:

  • Euphorbia lactea "GREY GHOST"
 


Cultivation:
Euphorbia lactea is only hardy to maybe 5° C and most grow it either in pots (excellent potted plant) or plant it in very protected locations. Euphorbia lactea being from a tropical climate, it is one of the few columnar Euphorbias that do exceptionally well in very wet, humid climates. It need  bright light to partial shade for best appearance (but the variegated forms do best if protected from strong sunshine in the hottest hours of the day). It responds well to warmth, with its active growth period in the late spring and summer months. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch during active growing season (more than once a week during hot weather) In the winter months, waterigs should be suspended or restricted to once over the winter. The most common failure in growing this plant is over watering, especially during the winter months. Likes porous soil with adequate drainage. Succulent Euphorbias in greenhouses apparently are seldom affected by fungous diseases.
The Ghost form can be burned in direct sunlight, though acclimating it to morning sun is not difficult. This is a slow growing plant, though the cristate forms seem particularly slow growing. Cristate forms are usually grown as grafted plants and that may have something to do with their slow growth rate.
Propagation:
It is propagated by cuttings,  while the crested forms are difficult to grow on their own roots, and are generally grafted for convenience on Euphorbia canariensis or Euphorbia resinifera.
It is recommend taking Euphorbia cuttings in Spring/Summer when the plant is growing so that they have a better chance of success. They key is heat & good air circulation. These cuttings should be dipped in Hormone powder (but it is not needed) and left for a period of 3-4 weeks to callous. Then pot the cutting and don't water ( or kept slightly moist) until rooted. These will root just fine, if you can put the pot outside in the summer, or put pot on a heating pad.
Warning:
As with all other Euphorbias when a plant get damaged it exudes a thick white milky sap known as latex. This latex  is poisonous and particularly dangerous for the eyes, skin and mucous membranes. So pay extreme attention not to get any in your eyes or mouth.  Cultivated plants must be handled carefully.
 

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Euphorbia lactea.

 

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This old page has been moved! Click the link next on the right to enter the new Enciclopedia of Succulents. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.

Encyclopedia of Succulents