Euphorbia 'Jessie'
Common Name: spurge 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Zone: 4 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to July
Bloom Description: Green with yellow bracts
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Air Pollution

Culture

Best grown in dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. However, clumps tend to open up and lose their attractive shape in too much shade. Must have sharply-drained soils. Wet soils, particularly in winter, can be fatal. Plants are tolerant of some poor soils, including rocky-sandy ones. Plants generally prefer a Mediterranean-type climate and may show some stress in hot and humid summers.

Plants are not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where they should be sited in protected locations. This hybrid is sterile.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euphorbia is a genus of about 2,000 species of annuals, herbaceous perennials, trees, shrubs and succulents found in temperate, subtropical and tropical areas. All plant parts are toxic and can cause severe discomfort if eaten. The milky sap can cause skin irritation.

Genus name probably honors Euphorbus, physician to the King of Mauretania.

'Jessie' is a hybrid spurge that typically grows on upright green stems to 3-5' tall. This plant is the result of a cross between Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglo' (female) and Euphorbia polychroma (male) that was performed in a controlled breeding program in Renick, West Virginia in 1998. 'Jessie' is noted for its bright yellow floral bracts which have contrasting, thin, orange margins. Compound cymes of inconspicuous greenish true flowers (lacking both sepals and petals) bloom in late spring to early summer (June - July). Although the true flowers (borne in cyathia) are not showy, these flowers are subtended by long-lasting, orange-margined, bright yellow bracts which are exceptionally showy. Flower color comes from the floral bracts. Elongated-oblong basal leaves (to 6" long) are yellowish green. Smaller, narrow-ovate, stem leaves (to 2" long) in whorls are yellowish-green with distinctive orange margins. U.S. Plant Patent PP12,858 was issued on August 13, 2002.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Use gloves when working with this plant. Some gardeners experience skin rashes from contact with the toxic plant sap of euphorbias. Deer tend to avoid this plant.

Garden Uses

Beds, borders and rock gardens.