Euphorbia helioscopia: characteristics, uses and care

Euphorbia helioscopia

Today we are going to talk about a plant commonly known as lecherula, sunflower spurge, pichoga and tornagallos. It’s about the Euphorbia helioscopy. It belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family and is an annual plant that comes from Europe and central Asia. It has hermaphroditic reproductive units and can be a good choice for decoration in gardens.

In this article we are going to tell you about the characteristics and care of the Euphorbia helioscopy.

Key features

Care of helioscopy euphorbia

Euphorbia helioscopia care

It is a plant that naturally it can reach heights of between 15 and 40 centimeters. It has male and female flowers that are quite small in size and lack perianth. These flowers usually grow in groups and in the center they are forming something similar to what could be a bowl since they join their bracts. When you look at the set of flowers it gives the impression that you are only seeing one flower. The main color is greenish yellow and has numerous stamens.

Their inflorescence is a terminal compound umbel. Its leaves are alternate and have almost no petiole. The color is yellowish green unlike the flowers. They have a finely serrated edge. As for the fruit, it is a capsule with compartments called lobes and that has a surface with uneven seeds.

The flowering period of the euphorbia heliscopia it begins in June and ends in September. Flowering can be more or less abundant depending on the rainfall regime that has occurred during the spring. This group of plants also usually has some fairly large thorny shrubs and other cactus-like succulents.

The genus Euphorbia is quite large with many small annual grasses. The gallery species are found in the tropics and have a shape similar to cacti found in dry areas of Africa. In Europe they have more than 100 species and most of them are in the Mediterranean countries.

Main uses of Euphorbia helioscopy

The main use for this plant is as a fully ornamental crop. It contains a kind of milky latex that is quite poisonous. The false flowers known as space inflorescences are called cyatia. It is a cup-shaped structure that is made up of all the bracts joined together. When we look at it, it gives the feeling that the flowers are enclosed between them.

The presence of this plant is usually associated to some extent in places with quite old residences. It also usually grows as a weed on cultivated land.

Habitat and area of ​​distribution

Dairy in the garden

milkmaid in the garden

The Euphorbia helioscopy usually grows in areas with high nitrogen content. For example, we can find it in ditches, abandoned areas, dumps, unemployed therophytes and in removed areas surrounded by anthropized environments. Its area of ​​distribution extends from heights that are close to sea level up to 1500 meters.

By having good bearing characteristics and diverse coverage, it can dominate the areas where the soils are nitrified. Despite the fact that the latex that we have mentioned above has toxic characteristics, it can be used for medicinal purposes. We must place great emphasis on this since it serves as a home remedy because we must know the doses and the treatment to be able to use this latex. The reason it is toxic is because of the presence of diterpenes.

Requirements of the Euphorbia helioscopy



If we want to take care of this plant and have it in our garden, we must take into account some main aspects. The location should be in full sunlight. We can also put it in semi shade and it will develop well, but the optimal thing is that it has the greatest number of hours of sun. In this way, we guarantee a good flowering during the hottest seasons. It needs a warm room temperature.

You need a soil with a certain humidity. It is not able to withstand large amounts of water for a long time. The indicator that helps us to know when to water is that the soil is almost completely dry. The pH should be between 5 and 8. As we have mentioned before, since it usually grows naturally in soils with a high nitrogen content, it is recommended that the soil where we are going to plant it has a good supply of nitrogen. This is how we guarantee that the plant can develop in good conditions and that it will have an adequate flowering.

The quite demanding in terms of the amount of nutrients that have soil. It prefers sandy and calcareous textures.

As for watering, it hardly needs watering. Once a week is more than enough. Unless the climate we have will be too dry and the soil cannot retain any moisture, watering when the soil is almost dry is more than enough. It is necessary that the soil has good drainage so that water does not accumulate. If every time we water the soil retains water, the plant will end up dying. We must avoid placing the plant in a place where there are sudden changes in temperature. It is better to place it where there is always a more or less warm temperature.

Medicinal properties

euphorbia helioscopy leaves

euphorbia helioscopia leaves

As we have mentioned before, the latex they have has some toxic effects but you have to know how to use it in different treatments. Just as it can become a plant of less so we do not know its components, it can serve as a medicinal plant.

The whitish latex that is released is often used in the treatment of skin lesions such as warts and spots caused by excessive exposure to the sun. It must be taken into account that latex can damage the skin, eyes and mucosa as it has an irritating effect. To be able to use it well, it is necessary to know the concentrations, the moment and the quantities. If not used under favorable conditions, it can damage the liver, kidneys, vomiting, diarrhea and heart attacks.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about the Euphorbia helioscopy.

Euphorbia helioscopia: characteristics, uses and care

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