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Annual Biennial

Euphorbia lathyris

caper spurge

E. lathyris is an upright annual/biennial, reaching 1.2m in height, with narrow, lance-shaped dark-green leaves, up to 15cm long, held in regimented horizontal pairs on unbranched stems. Small yellow-green flowers, up to 4mm in diameter, are borne from late spring into summer and are followed by green seeds held in clusters of three, ripening to brown

Other common names
caper bush
caper plant
see moreeuphorbia-oil plant
mole plant
mole tree
myrtle spurge
spring wort
wild caper
Synonyms
Euphorbia crucifolia

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Size
Ultimate height
1–1.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Yellow Green
Summer Green Yellow Green
Autumn Green Brown Green
Winter Green
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

East–facing or South–facing or North–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Columnar upright
Potentially harmful
All parts may cause severe discomfort if ingested, contact with sap may irritate the skin. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Euphorbia can be annuals, perennials, shrubs or succulents, with milky sap and small flowers held within cupped, often colourful bracts

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe

How to grow

Cultivation

Prefers a well-drained soil in full sun but will tolerate moist soils and shady conditions. Readily self-seeds so remove flowers as they fade to limit spread

Propagation

Propagate by seed in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Low Maintenance
  • Ground cover
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

None required

Pests

Generally trouble free

Diseases

Generally trouble free

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