Euphorbia Ferox Introduction: Euphorbia ferox belongs to a group of plants, together with the closely related species Euphorbia pulvinata and Euphorbia aggregata, which can be recognised by their striking growing-shape. Theyconsist mostly of compact, multiple–branched and heavily–thorned cushions. These species are closely related, and for an outsider it‘s very difficult to distinguish them. There are differences though. The english nickname “pincushion” says enough.
Euphorbia Ferox Origin: South Africa, Great Karoo area (the distribution-area starts in the east around Graaff Reinet, and from there to the west until Beaufort West. )
Habitat: At some locations it is the most dominant vegetation, often growing together with Euphorbia esculenta and Euphorbia mammillaris.
Common Name: Pincushion Euphorbia
Synonyms: Euphorbia caespitosa
Decription: Small spiny succulent shrublet branching at the base, it will form rounded clusters up to 60 cm in diameter.
Stem: It has columnar spiny succulent green stems, about 5 cm in diameter. The stem looks like a green corncob with thorns. Ribs are linear with minimal cross-channels.
Leaves: Tiny, ephemerals.
Spines: The spines are indeed solitary sterile peduncles. They are very numerous, about 6 mm apart, stout, spiny rigid, 1-6 cm straight , reddish turning purple and finally grey.
Note: Euphorbia ferox has a large area of distribution and is a very variable species. The difference between populations is the frequency of the appearance in which these forms do occur. So it is possible that two individuals of two different populations can look very similar and also, that two plants of the same population can look very different. However when you are looking at the whole population, you can see the difference between one population and another.
E. ferox belongs to Euphorbia section 19, along with E. aggregata, mammillaris, anoplia, enopla, heptagona, pentagona and polygona which are all similar in form. In particular, E. ferox looks a lot like E. enopla, but E. ferox is much fatter.