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Devil's backbone, slipper flower

Euphorbia (Pedilanthus) tithymaloides


This ornamental plant is flowering for the first time in 5 years. It seemed that the flowers emerged from stalks that were stressed (shriveled) and occurred during a period of low rainfall. It is Euphorbia tithymaloides, a perennial succulent spurge, native to tropical and subtropical North America and Central America.


Planted as an ornamental hedgerow plant in a semi-urban environment of houses, yards & gardens and patches of remnant forest. This is in the equatorial tropics of northern New Guinea.


(I suffered failure of a disk drive that included better images of this spotting, and these are all I had left. Since I have not seen this plant ever flower (in 5 years!), I figured it was worth posting).

1 species ID suggestions

C. Daehler
C. Daehler 6 years ago
Devil's backbone
Euphorbia tithymaloides Euphorbia tithymaloides


Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 6 years ago

Thanks Andrea!

AndreaLim 6 years ago

Very unusual. Good spotting!

Scott Frazier
Scott Frazier 6 years ago

Thanks to C. Daehler for the ID.


Lat: -2.56, Long: 140.50

Spotted on Oct 29, 2012
Submitted on Jan 23, 2013

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