Euphorbia characias L.

Perennial evergreen

Perennial evergreen herb to 1.8 m cm high, multi-stemmed, but each stem generally unbranched and biennial. Leaves alternate, clustered in loose rosette near the top of flowering stems; blades on stems linear, narrow-elliptic or oblanceolate, 40—“110 mm long, 3–13 mm wide; blades in whorl-head obovate to oblanceolate,10—“55 mm long, 8—“15 mm wide, green to yellow; blades in floral head fused and cup-like, 12—“15 mm wide. Floral head cylindrical with 10—45 rays, 2-forked up to 3 times. Cyathia 3—“4 mm wide; glands 4, notched or with 2 small horns, yellow, green or purple-brown.

Two subspecies are cultivated:

subsp. characias Stems less than 80 cm tall; glands dark reddish brown, notched, or with short horns.

subsp. wulfenii (W. Koch) A. R.-Sm., Dalmatian Spurge. Stems up to 1.8 m tall, flower spikes broader than those of subsp. characias; glands yellow, with long horns. Syn. E. wulfenii W.Koch.


Source: Forster, P. (2002). Euphorbiaceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 3. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 2. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Rosanae
order      Malpighiales
family       Euphorbiaceae
genus        Euphorbia L.