Euphoric Over Euphorbia?

No, not euphoric really, though I found it impossible to resist the double alliteration. But I am pleased that the Euphorbia corollata I planted about five years ago is finally establishing itself. This plant is native to Illinois and goes by the common names of Flowering Spurge or Prairie Baby’s Breath. I stick with the latter, which though longer sounds much nicer.

Prairie Baby’s Breath in the Lamppost Bed. 

Actually, I don’t like most Euphorbias. Their odd minimalist flowers that don’t look like flowers are unappealing to me. Prairie Baby’s Breath flowers look like flowers, and in my view it is far more attractive than most others of its genus.

This plant has a taproot, and like many taprooted plants it may be slow to establish. It is drought-tolerant and likes sun and medium to dryish soils. Otherwise, it is adaptable to any soil that is well-drained.

Prairie Baby’s Breath: a closer look. 

Prairie Baby’s Breath has a very long period of bloom, from four to as much as eight weeks. The seeds are eaten by Mourning Doves and some other birds. The flowers are beneficial for many native bees.

In autumn the foliage of E. corollata can turn a nice red. It also has a toxic sap that can irritate the skin, so please don’t go rubbing the sap on yourself. Apparently the plant has also been used as a laxative, but I can’t say that I’ve tried it.


There’s a good deal of this plant at the Lurie Garden, but it’s hard to find in garden centers. If you want some you will probably need to order it from an online nursery specializing in Midwestern natives, such as Prairie Moon.

That’s all for now.









28 Comments on “Euphoric Over Euphorbia?”

  1. Oh I love it! Baby’s Breath flowers are so pretty, and the fact that it’s a native and drought tolerant makes it a winner! It looks like it doesn’t have much of a footprint and would be great at squeezing in between plants.

  2. Help Jason, I’m not a fan of Euphorbias, but I do like this one, probably because it doesn’t look like a Euphorbia. The genus is so large though that there is probably a plant for everyone within it. I recognise “Baby’s Breath” as Gypsophila, the two look similar.

  3. I don’t remember seeing this one on our prairies, but in fact it’s shown in every county I visit. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it. We do have two other euphorbias that I just adore: E.marginata (snow on the mountain) and E. bicolor (snow on the prairie). When you’re a little short on the real thing, any sort of snow will do. In truth, I think the bracts are pretty, and the tiny little flowers are fun to photograph with a macro lens.

    I’m glad to know about this “new” one.

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