Euphorbia polychroma
Common Name: cushion spurge 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Native Range: Central and southeastern Europe, Asia Minor
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: Yellow bracts
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Tolerate: Rabbit, Deer, Drought, Air Pollution


Best grown in dry, well-drained soils in full sun. Appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. However, clumps tend to open up and lose their attractive cushion shape in too much shade. Quite tolerant of poor soils, including rocky, sandy ones. Freely self-seeds. Promptly remove spent flowers (shearing plants to shape is one option) to prevent any unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Euphorbia polychroma, commonoly called cushion spurge, is a mounding, clump-forming perennial which typically grows in a dome (or cushion) shape to 12-18" tall and as wide on erect, sturdy stems bearing oblong, downy, medium green leaves (to 2" long). Cymes of inconspicuous greenish flowers (lacking both sepals and petals) bloom at the stem ends in spring. Although the flower cymes are not showy, they are subtended by long-lasting, bright sulphur-yellow bracts which are exceptionally showy. Stems exude a toxic, milky sap when cut. Leaves turn red in fall.

Synonymous with Euphorbia epithymoides.

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

Specific epithet means many colors


No serious insect or disease problems. Some gardeners experience skin rashes from contact with the milky sap of this plant.