Early-blooming plants can give pollinators a boost when the winter ends and the weather begins to warm. Bees can get their energy from spring bulbs, although daffodil and crocus blossoms are short-lived. Include perennials with spring blooms, such as Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby,’ to give bees a source of food to return to. Because this ground cover smothers weeds as it develops, it also functions as “living mulch”
While most of us think of spurge as a magnificent foliage plant, Euphorbia ‘Bonfire”s early spring blossoms are a fantastic source of food for local bees. Mid-spring sees the appearance of chartreuse blossoms, giving pollinators a tasty breakfast. The foliage keeps up the display as the blossoms fade, developing from the springtime green to a deep burgundy. It’s the ideal perennial since it offers both a beautiful display in the garden and a source of food for pollinators.
Try Centaurea for a gorgeous, drought-tolerant plant that appeals to bees and makes a statement in the garden. Late in the spring, blooms start to develop and last all summer. Amethyst Dream produces royal blue, 2-1/2 inch flowers on top of silvery foliage that will impress you and your pollinator friends. You can enjoy more flowers throughout the season with a little deadheading.
Does Euphorbia appeal to pollinators?
In our zone 7 gardens, many of Euphorbia are heat- and drought-tolerant as well as winter-hardy. Due of the caustic white fluid that flows from damaged leaves and stems, they are able to draw butterflies and other pollinators and are unaffected by bothersome deer and rabbits.
Are Euphorbia plants poisonous?
The milky secretion of the Euphorbia plant, sometimes known as latex, is extremely poisonous and irritating to the skin and eyes. This study provides an illustration of the range of ocular inflammation brought on by unintentional ingestion of Euphorbia plant latex. Three patients came in with recently developed accidental ocular exposure to milky sap of a Euphorbia species. In all cases, there was a significant burning sensation along with vision blur. Visual acuity decreased to counting fingers from 20/60. Clinical findings ranged from anterior uveitis to secondary increased intraocular pressure, mild to severe corneal edema, epithelial defects, and keratoconjunctivitis. With active supportive treatment, all symptoms and indicators disappeared after 10 to 14 days. When handling euphorbia plants, wear safety goggles. Asking the patient to bring a sample of the plant for identification is usually advisable.
Trees, succulents, and herbaceous plants all belong to the Euphorbiaceae genus.
 There are numerous kinds of Euphorbia that can be found growing in the wild or in gardens or homes as cultivated examples. The milky sap or latex is poisonous and can cause severe skin and eye problems. From moderate conjunctivitis to severe kerato-uveitis, ocular toxic response can vary . There are a few case reports of people losing their sight permanently as a result of accidentally putting Euphorbia sap in their eyes.  Corneal involvement typically proceeds in a predictable order, with edema getting worse and epithelial sloughing on the second day. [3,5] Some species are thought to be more poisonous than others.  The inflammation usually goes away without leaving any aftereffects when it is promptly treated and carefully maintained. Here, we show three instances of ocular toxicity brought on by three distinct Euphorbia species: E. trigona (African milk tree), E. neriifolia (Indian spurge tree), and E. milii (Crown-of-thorns houseplant).
Euphorbia is harmful, why?
The pencil cactus or milk bush plant, Euphorbia tirucalli, is widely used as an attractive plant in the southern United States and has a sap that is poisonous to people. The sap is also one of the most irritating plant chemicals known to man, and it can hurt skin or mucous membranes, especially if it gets in your eyes. Thus, early detection and treatment assist to prevent serious side effects like blindness. This activity discusses the diagnosis and treatment of Euphorbia sap exposure and emphasizes the part played by the healthcare team in enhancing patient care.
Describe the typical history and physical findings after exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli.
Explain how common Euphorbia tirucalli sap exposures are evaluated and treated.
Identify the serious consequences of exposure to the sap of Euphorbia tirucalli and explain their treatment.
What plant is the greatest for bees?
You are undoubtedly already aware that native bees are responsible for around one-third of our food supply. Without their assistance, it would be a fruitless crop! Here is a list of flowers that not only give bees food when they need it most, but also give humans lovely blossoms, food, and medication!
I’m sure many of you have experienced the annoyance of having your vegetable plants’ blossoms fall off because they were not pollinated. Not only are these helpful insects essential for food crops, but most flowering trees and plants also require pollination to produce seeds and ensure the survival of their species. We need bees to maintain a healthy ecology.
Additionally, abuse of pesticides has put the bee population in danger, making it crucial to not only plant the flowers bees need most but also never to treat them with pesticides.
Sunflowers are loaded with pollen, and bees may easily rest on their broad, semi-flat petals. Find out how to grow sunflowers.
Native Bees Are Pollinating Powerhouses
Native pollinators, such as flies, beetles, moths, and butterflies, carry out the majority of the pollination, but native bees are the unsung heroes. Honeybees are not native to the area and are not as crucial for broad pollination.
- The world’s smallest bee, the 2mm long fairy bee (Perdita minimum), which is exclusively found in the desert southwest, is one of the over 4,000 species of native bees to North America. Larger carpenter bees can grow up to 40mm in length.
- All native bees, regardless of size, depend on flowering plants for sweet nectar and pollen that is rich in protein to feed both themselves and their young.
Large carpenter bees have the strength to get into blossoms like this sweet pea. Study sweet pea cultivation.
We must have flowers blooming throughout the season to provide bees with the food they require. Grow a variety of shapes and sizes to provide something for everyone.
Choosing Flowers for Bees
For a variety of reasons, bees favor some flower types over others. Typically, it comes down to the flower’s size and color. When planning to plant flowers for bees, keep the following in mind:
- The length of a bee’s tongue determines which flowers it likes best! While bees with short tongues prefer daisies, asters, and sunflowers, those with long tongues may easily obtain nectar in tubular-shaped blossoms like penstemon, columbine, and honeysuckle. Big bumblebees and carpenters prefer larger flowers, while little bees prefer smaller florets and composite flowers. To draw a variety of bee species to your area, try planting a mix of various flower sizes and shapes.
- Flower color is important. Red, which is a hue that hummingbirds and butterflies find more appealing, is invisible to bees. Purple, blue, white, and yellow are attractive to bees.
- Since they have co-evolved, pollinators often favor native plants over non-native ones. Native plants are typically easy to find for sale, low maintenance, and tailored to your area. When it comes to luring pollinators and providing them with what they require, species plants have an advantage over cultivars.
- According to research, natural plants in exotic forms, frequently referred to as “nativars,” are not as beneficial or alluring to bees as their original species. If you had grown one of those expensive coneflower kinds, you may have discovered this for yourself.
- Despite sharing the same genus and species as the native smooth hydrangea (H. arborescens), Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’ attracts much less pollinators. Why? The scent, pollen, nectar, and flower forms that pollinators require have been lost in many cultivars.
- A hybridized plant that was developed to be infertile or to have no nectar has no advantage whatsoever for pollinators.
- Additionally, do not plant double-flowering types. They produce less pollen, and because there are more petals in the way, the bees may have a tougher time getting to it. Bees will appreciate it if you stay true to the natural floral form rather than trying something creative.
Borage is a perennial herb that may be consumed and makes a wonderful companion because it attracts bees while keeping pests at bay. Find out how to grow borage.
Which Flowers Are Best for Bees?
Although there are some exceptions, perennials provide the greatest quality nectar and pollen. Some bees are specialized, such as the squash bee, which favors exclusively the blooms of squash, pumpkin, and gourds. The generalists who eat a variety of plants are the most productive pollinators. This comprises not only indigenous trees and perennials but also certain non-native annuals and crimson and white clovers.
- The benefit of annuals is that they bloom all year round. Alyssum, cleome, zinnias, sunflowers, salvia, calendula, and verbena are popular with bees.
- Sage, thyme, borage, lavender, chives, dill, basil, oregano, rosemary, and mint are examples of culinary herbs that can serve two purposes. They will attract pollinators to your other plants, so plant them all throughout the vegetable garden and allow some of them bloom.
The fragrant perennial plant lavender blooms all summer long. It’s also edible! Find out how to grow lavender.
Early-Season Flowers for Bees
Finding enough food in late winter and early spring, when most of nature is still asleep, is a constant problem for bees in temperate zones. What we can plant to aid them is listed below:
- Vernal witch hazel, maples, willows, serviceberry, and redbud are a few early blooming plants and shrubs to take into account. They bloom while few other plants are yet in bloom.
How does the euphorbia flower?
Euphorbia seeds are rarely sold commercially because of their short shelf life.
You can perform pollination by applying ripe pollen from one cyathium (flower) to the stigma of another plant using a brush with fine bristles. After use, make careful to fully clean the brush to prevent unexpected hybrids! Another method is to pluck mature stamens with delicate tweezers and use them right away for pollination.
A challenge is presented by seed harvesting. The fruits of euphorbias are three-segmented, rigid, woody capsules that each contain a sizable seed. The seeds are dispersed across incredible distances when the capsule explodes as it ripens. A tried-and-true technique is to wrap a cotton pad around the maturing capsule to stop the seed from escaping. The same can be said for nylon stockings. The entire plant can be wrapped in thin gauze or nylon if the seed is extremely precious.
Applying a little layer of glue to the already-ripened capsules to stop them from bursting open is an easy and secure way to preserve the seed. Sometimes totally desiccated capsules can be gathered whole and carefully opened from the base.
Do euphorbia plants have a smell?
You will come across a stunning evergreen shrub with a delicious ambrosia aroma as you ascend the winding road to the top of Heidelberg Hill in the Garden’s Mediterranean collection. Euphorbia mellifera, also referred to as honey spurge, is the name of this plant. Native to the Canary Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of northwest Africa, this plant is used in architecture. Although this shrub can withstand heat and dryness, it cannot withstand cold or rainy winters. Fortunately, San Francisco’s Mediterranean climate means that it thrives there!
In a variety of life forms, including annual or perennial herbs, cactus-like succulents found in the deserts of southern Africa, and the well-known poinsettias found in the tropical forests of Mexico, there are more than 2,000 spurges found worldwide.
The fragrant, honey-scented blossoms that adorn the ends of its branches are what give the species the name mellifera, which is Latin for “honey-bearing.” Flowers on euphorbias are extremely unusual. The male and female reproductive organs of the imperfect or unisexual flowers are located on distinct, unique blooms. The ovaries of female flowers are attached to the bloom by a special structure known as a cyathium that resembles a ball on a rope. The pollen-bearing stamens of the male blooms are all that remain. The petals or sepals that are typical of the majority of blooms in other types of plants are absent from these flowers. Instead, the reproductive organs of the euphorbia flower are held in place from below by bracts, which have developed to draw pollinators like petals do on other flowers. Try to identify the male and female versions of these altered flowers by paying close attention to them!
Exercise caution when touching any euphorbias because all members of their family produce “latex,” a milky sap that can irritate skin. But don’t be discouraged—this sap aids in keeping them safe from herbivory and keeps your plant pest-free and attractive.
Both as a specimen plant and as a huge evergreen background to display smaller plants against, Euphorbia mellifera is an outstanding choice. Even the use of euphorbias as gopher repellents is rumored! If you want to appreciate this shrub’s unusual floral display and delicious smell, you can either prune back its blossoms to promote more vegetative development.
Text and contributor profile by Sarah Callan for IN BLOOM. Joanne Taylor, Mona Bourell, Sarah Callan, and Brendan Lange all contributed images.
Animals consume euphorbia, right?
And in other regions of the world, some species regularly consumes euphorbias as part of their diet, reportedly with little adverse effects.
Can euphorbia make you blind?
Numerous Euphorbia plants produce toxic latex or sap, which when in contact with the skin or eyes can lead to skin or eye irritation. Ocular inflammation can range from a moderate conjunctivitis to a severe keratouveitis, and inadvertent exposure to the sap has been reported to cause irreversible blindness in several cases.
Can allergies be caused by euphorbia?
Although it’s highly unusual for a fatal plant poisoning to occur in the UK, there are particular plants we should be cautious about, especially when pruning, weeding, cutting flowers, or deadheading plants. These plants have irritating sap that can result in everything from a little rash to skin blistering and, in rare instances, temporary blindness. Additionally, the sap from some plants, including giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), makes the skin very sensitive to sunlight. Severe sunburn and possible long-term skin discoloration may result from this.
There’s no reason to freak out. Contact can be avoided by simply touching these plants while wearing gloves and long sleeves. However, it’s important to be aware of the plants that could harm you. You might want to warn your kids about the dangers of particular plants and perhaps forgo planting some of them while they’re still very young.
Monkshood, wolfsbane, and aconite are other names for the plant Aconitum napellus. Aconitine, a potent poison found in it, can be fatal to those who come into touch with it. The plant is poisonous in all of its parts, but the sap in especially is a skin irritant that can burn the lips and mouth and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and spasms.
Due to the substance tulipalin, which is created when plant tissues are harmed, such as when trimming or deadheading, alstroemeria can be toxic in all of its parts. When the sap comes into touch with the skin, it can occasionally result in blisters and eye discomfort as well as minor vomiting or diarrhea when ingested.
All echium sap, including that from viper’s bugloss, Echium vulgare, can irritate skin, possibly resulting in blistering and burning, and is only mildly hazardous if consumed.
Capsicum annuum, whose fruits are more often known as chillies and sweet peppers, produces edible fruits, but their sap can irritate skin and even cause blisters.
The sap from euphorbias is especially milky and exceedingly irritating to the skin and eyes. The sap has the potential to burn skin, and if it gets in your eyes, you could experience swelling, a burning sensation, and a brief loss of eyesight that could last up to two weeks. Gardeners should wear eye protection when working with euphorbias in addition to gloves.
Ficus benjamina, a weeping fig, is a common houseplant. However, especially for people who are allergic to latex, coming into touch with its sap might result in an allergic reaction comprising dermatitis and heightened sensitivity to sunlight. In rare and severe circumstances, exposure to or contact with ficus sap can cause anaphylactic shock.
All carrot family members, including parsnips, have irritating sap that is absorbed by the skin and, when exposed to sunlight, can result in severe sunburn, itching, and blistering.
All sections of the oleander plant contain a variety of poisons. Any portion of the plant that is consumed can result in serious disease and, in the worst circumstances, death. Vision impairment and skin rashes and burns are potential side effects of sap contact.