Native to South Africa, Euphorbia cooperi, also referred to as the Transvaal Candelabra Tree, is a small tree typically reaching 10 to 20 feet at maturity. It is hardy in USDA Zones 9-11 and thrives in full sun and moderate water.
This hardy tree is known for its unusual, spiny trunk full of round holes. It features succulent, 4- to 6-winged branches that look like a chunky string of beads, with spines forming a spiky margin along each ridge. Clusters of yellowish-green flowers grow between the spines towards the tips of branches.
Growing Euphorbia cooperi is relatively easy as long as you can provide it with proper conditions. It prefers sunny locations and does best when planted in well-draining soil. In order to maintain the tree's shape, pruning is recommended. To allow for a wider canopy, pinch the little growing points at the end of the branches. Since it is a succulent, the tree does not require a lot of water and should be watered only when the soil is dry to the touch.
For locations in colder climates, Euphorbia cooperi can be grown in a pot. It requires well-draining soil and should be repotted every spring to allow for natural growth. It should also be brought indoors, or at least to a sheltered place when temperatures drop. K eep in mind that the spines become brittle when the tree is exposed to frost, so take care when handling it.
It is also worth noting that Euphorbia cooperi is poisonous or toxic, so it is important to handle it with care, particularly when pruning. If you get the sap in your eyes, for instance, it can cause irritation.
Overall, Euphorbia cooperi is an interesting and unusual succulent tree, perfect for a rocky garden bed or a sunny place in a yard. When given proper growing conditions, it can thrive and bring a unique texture to the landscape.