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Euphorbia antisyphilitica (Candelilla)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Euphorbia antisyphilitica

Euphorbia antisyphilitica Zucc.

Candelilla, Wax Plant

Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)


USDA Symbol: euan3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Candelilla is a tufted perennial usually growing 1-1 1/2 ft. tall but occasionally reaching 3 ft. The numerous, rarely branched, waxy stems resemble a cluster of slender, pale-green candles. Tiny, narrow leaves, present only on new growth, fall off early and, along with the flowers, are inconspicuous. The small white flowers, deep pink at the base, 1/16-1/8 inch across, grow near the tips of the stems. This plant is in the same genus as the holiday favorite Poinsettia.


From the Image Gallery

20 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Subshrub
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
Bloom Notes: Typically flowers in response to sufficient rainfall. May flower any time of year.


Native Distribution: Trans-Pecos, TX, s. to Mex.
Native Habitat: High elevation, Hillsides, Slopes

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, limesone soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based, Caliche type.
Conditions Comments: This is an effective accent plant because of pale color and columnar shape. Often associated with sotol and lechuquilla in its natural habitat. Makes a good focal point in a small garden or a nice potted specimen. May be toxic; use with caution around children and animals.


Use Ornamental: Grows in clumps, Attractive, Accent tree or shrub, Desert landscape, Rock gardens, Patio pot plant
Use Wildlife: Nectar-insects
Use Medicinal: The species name, antisyphilitica, was given because of its purported use in treating venereal disease.
Use Other: Candelilla has been important economically for half a century in the Big Bend area of Texas. A high-grade wax is produced by boiling the plant in large vats, which we have seen in process on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. The wax has many uses, in making candles, soap, ointments, sealing wax, phonograph records, insulation material, shoe polish, floor polish, waterproofing, and lubricants.
Warning: Plants of this genus can be toxic if ingested; known to fatally poison cattle. Contact with plant can cause irritation of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Sensitivity to a toxin varies with a personís age, weight, physical condition, and individual susceptibility. Children are most vulnerable because of their curiosity and small size. Toxicity can vary in a plant according to season, the plantís different parts, and its stage of growth; and plants can absorb toxic substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and pollutants from the water, air, and soil.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Root Division
Description: Increase by root division.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1990 VOL. 7, NO.2 - Preservation Blooms in Recreated Prairies, New Wildflower Center Prairie Welcome...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Euphorbia antisyphilitica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Euphorbia antisyphilitica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Euphorbia antisyphilitica


Record Modified: 2023-02-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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