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Fl. Pl. South Africa 18: 715 1938
Origin and Habitat: Euphorbia zoutpansbergensis as is implied by the specific name, is rare and localised species confined to the Zoutpansberg (Soutpansberg) and Blouberg mountain range in the Limpopo Province (ex Transvaal) of South Africa,
Altitude: 1100-1500 metres above sea level.
Habitat: It grows in lightly wooded mixed savannah on sandy soils on rocky, sandstone slopes of ridges and hills with a north and north-east aspect. Apart from slight pressure from succulent-collectors, no immediate threats exist. Any change in land use, however, would have a serious impact because of the species' restricted range.
- Euphorbia zoutpansbergensis R.A.Dyer
ENGLISH: Soutpansberg Euphorbia
AFRIKAANS (Afrikaans): Soutpansberg-naboom
Description: Euphorbia zoutpansbergensis is a rather handsome small single stemmed tree or large shrubs with a large, dense crown of crowded arcuate-ascending branches towards the apex. It grows to a height of 6(-8) metres under favourable conditions, but usually doesn't exceed 4 m high. It has a distinctive silhouette and looks a bit like a small candelabra though branches very closely spaced. It is very striking in full bloom.
Stem. Trunk usually simple, bare with with a crown of slender, spreading-ascending branches in the upper part. Lower branches will hang down, although the majority curve upwards. Branches to 1.5 m long, usually simple, 5- to 7-angled, (generally 6-angled), constricted into oblong segments to 10 cm long, 3.5 cm across, angles more or less winged with very shallow sinuate teeth to 17 mm apart, with each narrow wing-like projection having a hard and horny, grey ridge armed with paired spines.
Stipular spines: Thin, sharp and reddish when young joined in a horny margin. They are sometimes comparatively far apart on well growing plants in cultivation and the spine ridges are continuous in older plants, not yet on young stems.
Spines: 1 cm, stout.
Inflorescence (cymes): 1 to 3 on a neat clusters in a horizontal line, simple, subsessile along the stems ridges on the stem tops.
Flowers (ciathia): Small and round,brilliant yellow to 6 mm in diameter. Nectar-glands oblong, yellow, touching.
Blooming season: Winter and early spring.
Fruits (three-lobed capsules): Obtusely lobed, 1 cm in diameter and green, borne on a long stalk.
Seeds: ± globose.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Kevin Balkwill “Sappi Tree Spotting: Lifer List” Jacana Media 2004
2) Jo Onderstall “Sappi Wild flowers guide: Mpumalanga & Northern province” Jacana Media 1996
3) Doreen Court “Succulent Flora of Southern Africa” CRC Press, 01/Jun/2000
4) David Hardy, Anita Fabian, Gerrit Germishuizen “Succulents of the Transvaal” Southern Book Publishers, 1992
5) Urs Eggli “Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Dicotyledons” Springer, 2002
6) Hilton-Taylor, C. et al. 1998. Euphorbia zoutpansbergensis. In: IUCN 2014. “IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.” Version 2014.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 12 June 2014.
7) Gibbs Russell, G. E., W. G. M. Welman, E. Retief, K. L. Immelman, G. Germishuizen, B. J. Pienaar, M. Van Wyk & A. Nicholas. “List of species of southern African plants.” Mem. Bot. Surv. S. Africa 2(1–2): 1–152(pt. 1), 1–270(pt. 2). 1987
Cultivation and Propagation: Euphorbia zoutpansbergensis is an easy species to grow that is suited for any well drained soil in full sun. But young plant are happy growing indoors, where they can easily reach the ceiling.
Growing rate: It is a moderately fast grower, and will quickly become large landscape masterpieces in just a few years.
Soil and pots: Give the plant an airy growing medium which mainly consists of non organic material such us clay, pumice, lava grit, and only a little peat or leaf-mould. If plant becomes very red, this is a sign that the roots have not developed properly, so repot the plant with fresh growing medium. Like quite small pots, repott in very later winter, early spring. It will be content in its position and with its soil for years.
Watering: Water regularly during the active growing season from March to September. No water should ever be allowed to stand around the roots. Keep almost completely dry in winter.
Fertilization: Need a perfect fertilizer diet in summer. Use preferably a cacti and succulents fertilizer with high potassium content including all micro nutrients and trace elements or slow release fertilizer.
Wing tolerance: Only downside is from strong winds, the columns often smash into each other, causing permanent scarring... best to plant in such a location where winds are not a big issue.
Exposure: It can tolerate moderate shade, and a plant that has been growing in shade should be slowly hardened off before placing it in full sun as the plant will be severely scorched if moved too suddenly from shade into sun.
Maintenance: Can be pruned for shape and branching.
Hardiness: Some cold tolerance. This spurge has tolerated temperatures down to –5ºC and even a little snow. However it can be difficult to get it to look its best without a good amount of heat and sun and so it is only really suited to the tropics (USDA Zones 9-12)
Rot: Rot it is only a minor problem with Euphorbias if the plants are watered and “aired” correctly. If they are not, fungicides won't help all that much.
Warning: All Euphorbias contain a white sap that can be irritating to eyes and mucous membranes. If contact is made with this white sap, take care to not touch face or eyes before washing hands with soap and water.
Gardening: This tree can be grown in large, rocky, well-drained soil in gardens in drier areas. It is very drought resistant but susceptible to frost. It makes one of the better house plants for an Euphorbia, dealing well with low light situations (though recommend higher light if possible). Somewhat user-friendly with only sparse spines along the edges of the plant. Slightly delicate, though, and spines tear off easily, exposing that latexy sap. It is also appreciated as a live fence because it is easily propagated from untreated mature branch cuttings.
Propagation: It is easy to propagate by cuttings in late spring to summer, just take a cutting of the plant let it dry for 1 or 2 weeks and stuff it in the ground (preferably dry, loose, extremely well draining soil). It is better to wash the cut to remove the latex. Place the cutting in a warm, bright and slightly humid spot, to increase the building of new roots.
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