Monday, March 24

Comparing Crowns of Thorns

On Sunday, Kylee (who blogs at Our Little Acre) posted pictures of her Crown of Thorns plant, euphorbia milii. Kylee was talking about the Crown of Thorns in light of Easter weekend, and she shared some info about its culture as a houseplant as well. Hers blooms a lovely pink-red, but that wasn't what caught my eye.

Scroll down to the second picture on her Green Thumb Sunday post and check out the thorn pattern on Kylee's Crown of Thorns! The thorns on hers are staggered in little groupings. They almost look like tufts of thorns. Now look at mine, in this picture. The thorns on mine are much more random, and seem not to be cozying up to their neighbors at all.

Anyone know why this might be?

Is it a difference between cultivars, or is it just a simple matter of genetic playfulness... like how my college roommate went white/gray at the age of 26, or how a little boy I used to babysit had one blue eye and the other hazel?

I know I sound like a toddler sometimes, with my constant chorus of "Why? Why? Why?" but these things really do make me curious. So any and all theories are welcome!

Oh, and while you experts are checking out my newly rehabbed Crown of Thorns, how about weighing in on these little red buds at the top. More leaves, or maybe... just maybe... the first flowers?

(I hope!)


Meagan said...

Whoa... Kim. You don't need tripwire under the snow for the mailman... just plant some of that!

Unknown said...

LOL Meagan! Sorry, it isn't hardy here. I could probably put the pot out by the usual "cut-through route," though... except that she seems to be taking the gate hint so far this week.

Carol Michel said...

I vote for "genetic playfulness". Just like some people have freckles and others don't, I suppose some crown of thorns have a lot of thorns and others don't.

My guess is those are flower buds!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Kylee Baumle said...

Kim, I'd say those are most definitely flower buds. That's how mine looks when they first start out. Those will continue to grow out and they'll be on a central stem.

I never gave it a thought that the thorn pattern was different than any other! I'll have to check that out the next time I see the plant somewhere. I saw very large ones in Florida a couple of years ago.

I too want to know why things are the way they are. I love knowing the unusual facts about things. I hope I've always got this childlike curiosity about things. It makes life so much more fun and interesting!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kim your Crown of thorns has thorns like I have always seen them. Odd isn't it how Kylee's COT is so much more thorny.

I vote that you have flower buds there too. Won't that be fun!

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Those little red buds look like flower buds to me. I'm no expert on Crown of Thorns though, my Mum used to have them but I do not care for plants that are sharp, hard and come with thorns, regardless of how the thorns are grouped. ;-)

What a pity that Crown of Thorns isn't hardy I rather liked Meagan's suggestion. giggle

Sue Swift said...

I've never come across the crown of thorns before, and given my reputation for clumsiness it's probably just as well. I'd probably end up wearing it...

Ki said...

Why, why, why?, that's why you're a good plants person. ;) My guess - since there are many hybrid cultivars you just have a different variety.

Most of the ones I've seen are like yours with randomly placed thorns. But I don't usually look at the thorns... little housebound? :)

Muum said...

Don't know anything about crown of thorns, but those sure look like flower buds to me!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I'm with Sue Swift - I'd probably be constantly impaling myself on that thing. (I have enough trouble with 2 well-behaved Cacti.) Asking "why?" is the beginning of all true knowledge and the bedrock of scientific discovery. Never stop asking & never feel ashamed to do so. I vote for ramdom expression of genetic traits (sort of like variegation with spines).

Annie in Austin said...

You ponder and I end up floating around google for too long! Maybe you and Kylee have two different varieties, Kim? Crown of Thorns is Euphorbia milii, but some sites list dozens of hybrids and variations within the species, with differences in height, form and flower color. And it's not random, but intentional.

Apparently some hybridizing in the 1970's set unlocked all sorts of genetic possibilities - one site mentioned stems on some varieties losing their thorns completely.

I especially enjoyed browsing this grower's site.

Like Yolanda, I don't want to own them and will stick to looking at them on your blog.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Unknown said...

Carol, I sure hope they are flower buds! :) I was thinking "genetic playfulness" too...

Kylee, I'm keeping an eye on them to look for a central stem like you mentioned. I thought the thorn pattern on yours was so cool that I just had to ask about it. Like you, I love knowing unusual facts about things!

Lisa, yay! That's three for flower buds. Now I hope my plant is paying attention to this informal poll and producing flowers soon. ;)

Sue Swift, you know... on a balcony, even one as big and lush as yours... yeah. Probably not a good plant to have. lol.

Ki, not housebound so much as winterbound! *grin* I like your explanation of my constant "why?"s being of benefit, so I'm going to start using that one.

Muum, I'll take it, even though you don't know the crown of thorns plant. (A vote for flowers is okay by me!)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, the crown of thorns is pretty well behaved... but it IS in the front of the window with a rubber plant and a couple of bay laurels as a buffer. lol.

Annie, you and Ki seem to agree on the different varieties idea. And I really liked the site you linked to--I giggled that it mentioned growing CofT on a balcony, given what I just wrote to Sue Swift above.

Are you sure you don't want to own them, though? You could probably overwinter them in the ground down there, given that MSS has overwintered her aloe! *grin*

Kerri said...

I can't give you any answers, Kim, but I sure have enjoyed reading the discussion. Isn't Annie great the way she loves to answer matter how long it takes? Curious minds...they're a wonderful thing. Blogging teaches us so much.
I'll look forward to seeing your blooms. Kylee's plant is gorgeous. I love those bright little flowers.

lisa said...

I vote buds are flowers, too. Mine is like yours, and that's what my flowerbuds look like. That variation IS strange...must be a slightly different cultivar. I've only ever seen them like ours...weird! (I like the questions you ask, BTW! ;-)

lisa said...

One more thing...if you ever want a list of thorny plants, shoert and tall, well I am something of an "expert". :) Here's a hint..."layering" is good! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Here in Fla. we have these all over, but you do have to be careful of them since they can cause problems if you come in contact with them:

The latex may produce a severe dermatitis on susceptible individuals, much like poison ivy.

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