The Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ is a member of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). Euphorbia is a very large genus that grows all over the world and is commonly called spurge. There are annual, biennial and perennial Euphorbias. There are long-lived and short-lived species. Some species resemble cacti and some are trees. Some species are evergreen and some re-emerge every year. There is a Euphorbia for everyone.
The Euphorbia-species have unique floral structures. The false-flower (= cyathium) contains one female flower (just the pistil) surrounded by numerous male flowers (just the stamen) enclosed in a cup-shaped part (= involucrum) which is supported by an often brightly colored, leaf-like structure (= bracts). The modified leaf structures have the appearance of petals. Usually the false-flowers are clustered in large umbels or panicles.
Euphorbias also all produce a milky, white, latex-like sap. This sap is usually toxic and can cause skin-irritation and eye damage. The common name spurge is derived from the Middle English/Old French word espurge (“to purge”) because of the use of the plant’s sap as a purgative.
The Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ is commonly called chameleon spurge and has small clusters of greenish-yellow false-flowers
This cultivar looks its best in spring/ early summer. It has a stunning burgundy-purple foliage with the greenish-yellow false-flowers at the top. Cut back hard when the leaves start to turn to a greyish-green. The plant will develop new red leaves which keeps this perennial appealing. If you do not cut back, this chameleon spurge will lose all its appeal.
The Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ spreads through rhizomes and seeds but is not invasive. The seedlings have the same characteristics as the mother plant.
Many Euphorbias are good cut flowers. They prefer a sunny and well drained spot and are drought, heat and salt tolerant. The Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ prefers more moisture than others. It is winter hardy in USDA zones 4 - 9 and prefers the cool summer climates. In hot summer climates it prefers protection against the afternoon sun and does not like the humid and hot summers of the southeastern U.S.
Attracts bees: no
Characteristic: newly emerging every year
Deer resistant: yes
Exposure: sun/ part shade
Flower color: yellow
Flowering time: April – May
Foliage color: red
Fragrant flower: no
Hardiness: -20 ºC (-4 ºF)
Height: 16 inches (40 cm)
Soil: normal/ moist