What Is A Candelilla Plant?
A candelilla is a type of succulent or flowering plant belonging to the family Euphorbias. It belongs to the genus Euphorbiaceae. There are several species of these plants with different colors and shapes. They have been cultivated since ancient times for their beautiful flowers which resemble those of a miniature butterfly. Some varieties grow up to 15 feet tall and produce white, pink, purple, yellow, red or green flowers.
The leaves of the candelilla are used in many ways. The leaves are eaten raw, cooked and even made into tea. They are also used as a decorative element on tableware and furniture. Most commonly they are used as a decoration on cakes, pastries, cookies and other sweets.
They may be dried or fresh and stored for long periods of time without losing their flavor.
How To Grow A Wax Euphorbia Succulent?
There are two types of waxes: 1) the common and 2) the rare.
Common waxes include:
1. Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Cinnamon Wax), 2. Cinnamomum verum (Honeysuckle Wax), 3. Mentha piperita (Peppermint Wax).
Rare waxes include:
Mentha arvensis (Arctic Mint Wax), Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen Wax), Salvia haematodes (Redroot Wax), Carum carvi (Caraway Wax), Elettaria cardamomum (Cardamom Wax), and
Trachyspermum ammi (Ajowan, Aromatic Ammi).
The most popular is the M. piperita (Peppermint Wax), which is the main ingredient in most of the capsules and tablets of Ayurvedic medicine.
Euphorbia flanaganii is a succulent plant native to South Africa. It grows mainly in the Eastern Cape, where it can be found near rivers, streams and waterfalls, although its habitat is declining due to over-collection as a popular house plant. The plant flowers mainly in spring (September) and summer (December).
A common misconception is that the cacti are related to plants such as the real cactus.
Many people wonder how to grow a euphorbia succulent. These plants have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many growers enjoy sharing tips on how to grow euphorbia succulents. One method is to start with an established plant or a cutting from a friend’s plant. Euphorbias can also be grown from seeds, which are easy to obtain.
As interesting as the succulent plants are to grow, they are not without their problems. They are prone to mealy bugs. One way to prevent problems is to keep succulents dry for most of the summer and give them a good drenching before placing them in fall or winter.
These succulents are also prone to root rot if over watered. Over watering is usually caused by water left sitting in the rosette of the plant. Succulents need good drainage; a cactus mix and gravel and a thick layer of gravel on top of the soil mix help with drainage.
Mealy bugs look like small bits of white cotton and are covered with a sticky substance that slows their movement. They cluster together in groups and can spread very quickly. Insecticidal soap works well to kill them.
Formica subintegra or the ant plant is a very interesting plant. Ants farm the plants to use the acid the ant plants exude as antifreeze. They also use it to seal up their nests against the cold. It has been discovered that Formicas can survive on a diet of Formica Subintrega.
This is due to an endosymbiotic relationship between the ant and certain bacteria which allow the ant to break down nutrients from the plants.
While it is most common to see just the red ant, there are many other types of ants which frequent the plant. Some notable ones are the black carpenter ant, the little brown carpenter ant and the big headed ant. Most of these ants are not aggressive towards people and only attack when their nest is disturbed. These ants have been known to attack in swarms when their nest is threatened.
For this reason it is best to use gloves when handling the plant or digging around it.
“Lithops” is a word meaning “stone eyes” in Latin. “Living stones” might be a more appropriate translation. These plants have developed the amazing ability to mimic the look of surrounding rocks in order to avoid being eaten. In fact, it takes several glances before you can actually find the plant camouflaged among the stones.
These little plants are native to South Africa. They have been able to survive because their bodies are on the ground and they are small so they can’t be easily seen. When the heat of the sun hits them, their bodies expand to absorb the heat. When it gets too hot, they open up stomates on their leaves to allow moisture to escape. They close up these stomates when it’s cold in order to prevent heat loss.
Sources & references used in this article:
Trade survey study on succulent Euphorbia species protected by CITES and used as cosmetic, food and medicine, with special focus on Candelilla wax by E Schneider, B für Naturschutz – 18th meeting of the Plants Committee …, 2009 – cites.org
Micropropagation of candelilla, Euphorbia antisyphilitica Zucc by JL Jakobek, RA Backhaus, K Herman – Plant cell, tissue and organ culture, 1986 – Springer
Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica): utilization in Mexico and international trade by F Barsch – Medicinal Plant Conservation, 2004 – iucn.org
The Mexican candelilla plant and its wax by WH Hodge, HH Sineath – Economic Botany, 1956 – Springer