The common name of this plant would suggest that this plant was used to make the crown of thorns for Christ when they crucified him. While this may have been the case, the crown was more likely made from a species of thorny acacia. Regardless, the prominent thorns covering the stems of this plant are one of its interesting features, as are its attractive pink-red “flowers” (cyathia), which are produced most abundantly when the plant is grown in full sun. If the stems are injured in any way, a white milky juice (latex) is exuded from the injury for a minute or so. This juice has the potential to irritate the skin of a few very sensitive individuals, so the plant is best handled with caution.
The Crown of Thorns will root from stem cuttings, but the cut surface must be allowed to “cure” in the open air for several weeks before it can be inserted into barely moist rooting media, or else it will rot. If the plants are grown under continuously moist conditions such as prevail locally, it bears leaves throughout the year. However, if there is a pronounced dry season, the leaves will be shed and the plants will go dormant until the rains return.
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