Strange plant is like a bad hair day

On the Trail

EARNS ITS NAME—A Euphorbia tirucalli plant, more commonly known as the “pencil bush.”

When I’m experiencing a seriously bad hair day, that’s when it appears that a plant known as Euphorbia tirucalli, commonly called “pencil bush,” has sprouted atop my head.

This plant, which can range from a potted houseplant on a windowsill to a 30-foot-tall landscape tree capable of producing shade, is indisputably one weird-looking character.

Think of a porcupine—with blunted, harmless quills—whose b...

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