“COMPETITION IS TOUGH BUT I CHOSE TO DISGUISE AS A PINK LITTLE BIRD… HOPEFULLY, THIS WILL ATTRACT MORE PEOPLE TO SHOWER ME WITH THEIR LOVES…”
During one of the Chinese New Years about 4-5 years back, I went to a nursery and found this plant. At the time when I bought it , it is just a very small plant about a few inches tall. I tried to give her the best care and last month, it blossomed its very first flower as shown in the picture above.
That is the reason why I have chosen to start this series by writing about Pedilanthus Tithymaloides or Eurphorbia Tithymaloides. Based on my research, I am surprised to find that i have at least three Pedilanthus Tithymaloides but unsure of the sub-species or cultivars.
Scientific name: Euphorbia tithymaloides | Family:Euphorbiaceae |
Synonym: Pedilanthus tithymaloides
Common name: Devil’s Backbone, Japanese Poinsettia, Redbird Flower, Slipper Flower
Chinese name: 红雀珊瑚 , 银龙木, (俗称小鸟花)
Pedilanthus is very easy to grow as a houseplant. It needs some protection from hot summer sun, but it will be happiest in full sun cloudy days. Take care not to over-water, which can cause rotting. Water sparingly, just enough to make the potting mixture moist. Water even more sparingly if the room temperature is below 60 degrees; the temperature should never go below 55 degrees. Liquid fertilizer should be used once a month. Plant in well drained sandy mixture. It does best in a small pot; you can change pots to just one size larger when roots become extremely crowded. The sap is moderately caustic, although mild by Euphorbia standards, it should still be handled with caution.
Things to note
Pedilanthus tithymaloides has been evaluated for use in controlling the organisms that cause malaria, schistosomiasis, and tuberculosis.
As the stem changes direction each time it grows a leaf, forming a zig-zag pattern. This is the reason for the common name of “devil’s backbone,
The plants are classified as poisonous plants and their saps can cause irritations of the mouth and throat, vomiting and diarrhea when ingested. Skin irritation, rash, and blistering and eye irritation upon contact. If latex or root juice gets on the skin, the victim should immediately wash with soap and warm water. Advise your cats and dogs don’t eat this plant….Smile
Though, it is classified as poisonous plant but they were used in some traditional or folk medicines . PLEASE DONT TRY!!
The root is known to be a powerful emetic.An enzyme known as pedilanthain can be extracted from the plant’s latex and has been shown in experiments to be effective against intestinal worms and to reduce inflammation when ingested. In 1995, a galactose-specific lectin was purified from the plant’s latex, and indications are that it might be useful in combatting diabetes.
In folk medicine, tea has been brewed from the leaves which has been used to treat asthma, persistent coughing, laryngitis, mouth ulcers, and venereal disease. Tea brewed from the root has been used as an abortifacient. The latex has been used topically to treat calluses, ear ache, insect stings, ringworm, skin cancer, toothache, umbilical hernias, and warts. None of these uses has been scientifically verified as effective. In the West Indies, a few drops of the latex was added to milk and used as an emetic.
A search using the internet shows that there are many sub-varieties of Pedilanthus Tithyamaloides and at least I have 3 species that are in my house.
PEDILANTHUS TITHYAMLOIDES EMBRACEABLE YOU
Never seen this species before in Singapore But it resembles one species that I planted for many years but not sure of its name. However, I am sure it is their” relatives” as it possess all the characteristics like white saps, zig zag pattern…
PEDILANTHUS TITHYMALOIDES NANUS
Quite common in Malaysia and Singapore but not planted in my house.
PEDILANTHUS TITHYMALOIDES SMALLII
This resembled one of the favorite plant as shown below. I understand that no flowering have been noted in plant literature.
PEDILANTHUS TITHYMALOIDES VARIEGATUS
Looks like the one I found near the neighborhood gardens but the leaves are slightly different.
Plant in my neighborhood:
PEDILANTHUS TITHYMALOIDES SPLISH SPLASH
Never seen before. Look like Golden Pothos plant.
PEDILANTHUS TITHYMALOIDES MARBLESTEM
I thought I have seen it before. Rather common but don’t known where I have seen this.
Source of picture: http://www.glasshouseworks.com/succ-pr.html
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