Euphorbia cyparissias
Common Name: cypress spurge
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Western, central and southern Europe
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to June
Bloom Description: Yellow aging to red
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Ground Cover, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Air Pollution

Culture

Best grown in dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Quite tolerant of poor soils, including rocky, sandy ones. Eight to ten plants per square yard are sufficient to quickly form a dense ground cover. Spreads by rhizomes and can be quite invasive, particularly in rich, moist soils. Also freely reseeds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euphorbia cyparissias, commonly called cypress spurge, is an erect, branching, rhizomatous perennial which typically grows to 12" tall and can rapidly spread to form a bushy ground cover. Numerous tiny flowers appear in umbel-like clusters in spring. Flowers lack petals and sepals, and primarily consist of showy lime-yellow bracts which age to red. Narrow, bluish-green, linear leaves (to 1.5" long). Stems and leaves contain a milky sap which is poisonous. Plant foliage superficially resembles that of a tiny spruce or cypress tree, hence the common name.

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

Specific epithet refers to the cypress-like foliage.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Invasiveness can be a significant problem, particularly if plants are grown in close proximity to valuable garden perennials.

Garden Uses

Best as a ground cover on dry, sunny slopes or other sunny areas that are well-spaced from perennial plantings. Probably too invasive for the border.