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Silver Spurge

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Euphorbia rigida (Non-Native)

Euphorbia rigida (Silver Spurge) is a small upright shrub to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide with attractive lance-shaped leaves arranged in tight spirals around the thick upright stems. Domed clusters of small green flowers appear at branch tips at the end of winter and early spring, accompanied by showy chartreuse-yellow bracts that turn reddish-tan as they age. Late fall can also bring out these red hues in the leaves. In full sun to part shade, plant in well-draining soil that tolerates poor dry, rocky soil and water occasionally to infrequently. It is hardy to around 0°F. Animals do not find this plant attractive for browsing. After flowering, stems can be removed from their base, and new growth can sucker from the base to prevent it from seeding. 

From Portugal east through Italy, Greece, and Albania into Turkey and Crimea, as well as on the islands of Sicily and Crete, this plant is native to the Mediterranean Basin. The name for the genus is derived from Euphorbus, the Greek physician of King Juba II of Numidia and later of Mauritania, who in 12 B.C. named a cactus-like this plant that had purgative qualities after his physician. Carl Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbia to the entire genus. The specific epithet is about the erect stems compared with the similar looking but prostrate Myrtle Spurge, Euphorbia myrsinites. For this reason, it is sometimes called Upright Myrtle Spurge and Gopher Spurge, a name usually associated with Euphorbia lathyris.

Height: 1’-2’
Spread: 2’-3’
Bloom: April-July
Light: Full Sun, Part Sun
Water: Low, Medium
Zone: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Origin: Mediterranean Basin
Deer Resistant: Yes

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