My love of Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii) began last summer when I purchased it at a local greenhouse as an annual for a container. I was immediately attracted to its delicate pink blooms and unique structure. It found its new home in a container on our patio. To my delight, it bloomed all summer and fall. I could not part with its beauty as frost was fast approaching, so I brought it inside as a houseplant.

Euphorbia milii is a species of plant in the family Euphorbiaceae, native to Madagascar. Crown of Thorns is a blooming succulent that features thick black spines on its stems. There is evidence that this plant had been brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ which led to the belief that the stems of this plant had been used in Christ’s crown of thorns during his crucifixion, hence the name. Other common names for this plant are Christ Plant and Christ Thorn. It is a tropical relative of poinsettias and has some of the same characteristics as a poinsettia. Both plants have flowers that are enclosed within long-lasting bright bracts. The bracts of Crown of Thorns can be pink, red, or yellow.

Carolyn Black is a Penn State Master Gardener from Adams County. Penn State Cooperative Extension of Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, phone 334-6271.

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