The Encyclopedia of House Plants

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Family: Euphorbiaceae.

Pedilanthus tithymaloides Poit. Common name(s): The Red Bird plant, Devil's backbone, redbird flower; Jacob's ladder; ribbon cactus Pedilanthus macrocarpus
Pedilanthus Genus of about 14 species of bushy, succulent shrubs and small trees occuring mainly in low, rocky terrain in Mexico, Central and South America, the West Indies, and Florida. The house plant Pedilanthus is a leafy shrub known by its zig-zag stem. The stem is green and grows to about 2 feet long. It changes direction every inch or so, first to the left and then to the right. This subtropical succulent is a distant relative of the familiar Christmas poinsettia.

The stems and leaves contain a milky sap that may cause a stomach upset, can cause skin irritation and is especially harmful to eyes and open cuts.

Growing conditions Watering and misting Propagation
Grow in soil-based potting mix, in bright filtered light, with two or three hours of direct sunlight every day. It does best in a small pot. Water moderately in spring and summer, water sparingly in winter. Sow seed at 66-75 F (19-24 C) in spring. Take stem-tip cuttings in summer.

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