Euphorbia tirucalli

Euphorbia tirucalli or ‘Firestick plant’ is a leafless succulent that forma a small shrub over time.

Species and cultivars include: Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’ (Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Firesticks’) which is a sun loving drought tolerant euphorbia well suited to growing in rock gardens. It is the orange to red foliage in winter that give the plant its common name, and the cooler the climate the more vibrant the colours.

A native of arid South Africa Euphorbia tirucalli is an upright growing spineless succulent, the red tipped pencil like stems of new growth give it the name ‘fire stick plant’.

Also known as “Indian Tree Spurge”, “Milk Bush”, “Naked Lady” and “Pencil Tree” the sap of the fire stick plant is an irritant and should be avoided.


Euphorbia tirucalli ‘Rosea’ (cv ‘firesticks’) is used widely as a container plant, grown indoors in a sunny position.

Drought tolerant and with new growth being a light crimson colour the mass of ‘pencil thin’ ‘fire coloured’ branches helps it live up to its common names. Prefers a free draining potting mix.

Very little maintenance is required although if grown in containers it is usually pruned back fairly hard to maintain a smaller growing plant.

Avoid all skin and eye contact with the the white sap as is quite poisonous, caustic and generally dangerous, wear gloves when handling euphorbia and was hands thoroughly after.