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Pencil Plant Overview
Euphorbia tirucalli has unmistakable, brush-like branch masses that are a noticeable feature of the plant. It occurs over the widest distribution of all local euphorbias and is also a very variable plant, ranging from many-branched shrubs to large trees, depending on the particular habitat. It has many common names including Pencil Plant, Finger Tree, African Milkbush and Firesticks Plant after its thin stick-like appearance. Euphorbia tirucalli is a succulent with a strong branching habit, producing cylindrical stems coloured green to grey-green in aged specimens. Leaves are slim and small, almost unnoticeable and they drop to leave minute leaf scars on the stem surface. Flowers are small and discrete, coloured yellow and arranged in clusters at the tips of branches or between branches. These blooms lead onto capsule fruits measuring approximately 1.2cm across, coloured pale green, sometimes with a pink tinge. This is a common feature plant. Euphorbia tirucalli is abundant in southern Africa and seeds itself freely across its distribution range. It is well represented in various habitats and is not an endangered species. ZA Distribution: Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga.