Monday, April 7, 2008

Have you ever heard of a Milk Bush? What about a Pencil Tree? Maybe you have heard of a Firestick?

Well if you have answered no then you are missing out. This is a very interesting tree. The Pencil Tree starts out as a small bush and may grow up to 20 feet tall. The Pencil Tree ( Euphorbia tirucalli ) looks like rubber and has a very toxic sap that looks like milk, hence the name Milk Bush. Extreme caution is highly recommended when handling this plant.

Then there is the Firestick! The Firestick ( Euphorbia tirucalli ) looks exactly like the Pencil Tree except for the tips are red resembling sticks on fire. The Firestick also only grows to be about 2 feet tall as opposed to 20 feet tall. You still need to use caution handling this plant too.

The Euphorbia tirucalli is very easy to propagate. Propagation includes cutting a piece off of a plant and letting it dry out for a day or two. The reason for this is to help prevent the cutting from rotting. Then once the cutting has calloused over you apply a little root hormone and stick it right in the ground. It's that easy!! You do not need to water to much as the Euphorbia tirucalli is drought tolerant.

The first picture is of my Firestick clippings that my friend gave to me. The second picture is a picture that I found on the Internet by Palm Bob that is a grown Firestick. You can see the fire tips really good. Good job Palm Bob!!

The third and forth pictures are of my 2 Pencil Tree's. One of them is by my pond and the other is along the back side of my fence. The last picture is also one that I found on the Internet and is also by Palm Bob of a grown Pencil Tree. The grown Pencil Tree is interesting to me because it forms a bark covered trunk and then the leaves are these little rubber sticks.


misti said...

Ok, I had no idea they got that large! How old is that one???? That is enormous! Wow, wow, wow!

Lets Plant said...

I am not positive on the age but I am sure it is very old.

walk2write said...

It's funny how so many beautiful tropical plants are toxic. I had an oleander growing in my garden until my grandson was born. I was going to dig it up and give it away to someone with no kids or pets, but it died before I had the chance. I think it got a bit too cold, even though I planted it on the south side of the house and close to the house itself.

jon said...

I have a two year old Firestick and it has grown rapidly, and is now easily 5 feet tall. I recently transplanted it from a pot to the ground with no ill effects.

Lets Plant said...

Hi Jon, I agree, they are very tuff!!

Unknown said...

DO NOT, repeat DO NOT get the milky sap anywhere near your face/eyes/skin - inflammation, pain and temporary blindness can occur! Very hard to wash away, TRIM WITH CAUTION.