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Cliff Spurge
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Euphorbia misera
  

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About Cliff Spurge (Euphorbia misera) Euphorbia misera is a species in the Euphorbiaceae (Spurge) family known by the common name Cliff Spurge. It is native to southern California and Baja California, where it is known from the Sonoran Desert and the coastline, including the Channel Islands of California. It occurs in close proximity to the coast in Coastal Sage Scrub and Maritime Succulent Scrub vegetation, often on steep slopes. Although common in Baja, it is very rare in California. It was probably never common north of the border, and much of its former habitat has been lost to agriculture and urbanization. For these reasons it is included on CNPS list 2B.2.

This is a subshrub standing erect in protected areas, or prostrate when exposed to constant sea breeze. It reaches one half to one meter in height. The stems are limber and somewhat succulent. When broken, the stems produce a milky sap that is typical of Euphorbias. It has small, rounded, hairy leaves that are dropped readily in dry periods. The typical Euphorbia flower clusters are at the tips of the branches. The distinctive flower is hairy and has a central nectar disc with a bright red appendage with scalloped edges and a light yellow fringe. The style in the pistillate flower extends outward and is divided at the tip. The anthers are bright yellow. The fruit is a spherical capsule with lobes containing round, wrinkled gray seeds.

In the garden this plant can be a highly interesting though unusual specimen or accent plant. The flowers are not showy, but in garden conditions the plant can bloom nine months out of the year. It is especially effective with other succulents and decorative rock. It is best used in warm, relatively dry coastal gardens in the southern part of the state.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Perennial herb, Succulent

Max. Height
3 ft (0.9 m)

Max. Width
3 ft (0.9 m)

Fragrance
None

Growth Rate
Moderate

Dormancy
Summer Semi-Deciduous

Flower Color
Red, White, Yellow

Flowering Season
Spring, Summer, Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall
Winter


Native Status
Natural Setting
Site Type
Rocky slopes, sandstone sea bluffs and arroyos below 1,600 ft.

Sun
Sun

Elevation ?
7' - 2406'

Annual Precip. ?
6.5" - 13.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.18" - 0.76"

Coldest Month ?
51.2° F - 57.5° F

Hottest Month ?
65.4° F - 84.1° F

Humidity ?
1.63 vpd - 35.22 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sandy/rocky soil

Soil PH
6.0 - 7.0

Drainage
Fast, Medium

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 30° F

Companion Plants
Most effective when used with other succulents, shrubs and herbs of the south coast, including Shaw's Agave (Agave shawii), Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverulenta), Fingertips (Dudleya edulis), Giant Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya brittonii - a Baja species), California Encelia (Encelia californica), California Sagebrush (Artemisia californica), Chaparral Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei), Mojave Yucca (Yucca shidigera), Coast Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus viridescens), Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia sp.), Coast Cholla (Cylindropuntia prolifera), Fish Hook Cactus (Mammillaria dioica), and California Boxthorn (Lycium californicum)

Wildlife Attracted
Various insects including bees and butterflies are attracted to the flowers

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Moderately Easy

Water Requirement ?
Extremely Low, Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Low
Moderate - High


Popularity
Seldom Used

Max. Summer Water ?
No Summer Water, 1x/month
No Summer Water
1x/month
2x/month
3x/month
1/week
Keep moist


Mulch
Inorganic

Pruning
Can be tip pruned in fall. Use caution to avoid getting sap in eyes.

Propagation ?
By seed or cuttings. Mature plants may produce seedlings in the vicinity of the mother plant. These can be left alone or dug up and transplanted.

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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