The crown of thorns is a woody, spiny, climbing succulent shrub with shoots reaching a height of 2 meters. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, but the brightly colored modified leaves (bracts) found just beneath the flowers are quite attractive.
Ornamental potted plant permanently outside in garden in the equatorial tropics of northern New Guinea.
The common name alludes to the legend that the crown of thorns worn by Christ at the time of his crucifixion was made from stems of this plant. Interestingly, the stems of this plant are pliable and can be intertwined into a circle. There exists substantial evidence that the species, native to Madagascar, had been brought to the Middle East before the time of Christ. The thorns are visible in the last three photos.