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Candelilla, Wax Euphorbia
Euphorbia antisyphilitica


Candelilla, which means "little candle" in Spanish, is a dense plant with many upright, pencil-slim, leafless stems. They are covered with a wax that, when extracted by boiling, has been used for candles, soap, ointments, floor polish and waterproofing, among other uses. The leaves are so small and fall so early in the year that they are seldom seen. It produces tiny white flowers with red centers along the stems throughout the year after rains. Candelilla grows on gravelly limestone hills primarily in the Chihauhaun Desert in Big Bend with a few populations in the Rio Grande Plains, and south into Mexico. It needs frost protection north of its range. It is very drought tolerant once established, the wax on the stems serving to slow the evaporation of water.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: white with red centers

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: 2- to 4-lobed capsule

Height: 1 to 3 feet

Width: 1 to 2 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: alkaline

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Additional Comments:

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