Jessie, that's who!
Euphorbia 'Jessie' is the first plant that I've felt was worthy of
patenting. She's an interspecific Euphorbia hybrid, a cross between E.
griffithii and E. polychroma and she brings the best qualities
of both her parents into a dramatic 48" to 60" plant. In case
you're unfamiliar with these particular species of Euphorbia or with the
genus Euphorbia in general, I'll educate you a bit about the Euphorbia
Euphorbia is a genus of plants belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae.
Consisting of about 2160 species, Euphorbia is one of the most diverse
genera in the plant kingdom. Members of the family and genus are
sometimes referred to as Spurges. The genus is primarily found in the
tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and the Americas, but also in
temperate zones worldwide. Succulent species originate mostly from
Africa, the Americas and Madagascar. There exists a wide range of insular
species, namely on the Hawaiian Islands where spurges are collectively
known as "Akoko".
The common name "Spurge" derives from the Middle English/Old
French espurge ("to purge"), due to the use of the plants sap
as a purgative.
The botanical name Euphorbia derives from Euphorbus, the Greek physician
of King Juba II of Numidia (52-50 BC - 23 AD). He is reported to have
used a certain plant, possibly "Resin Spurge" (E.
resinifera), as a herbal remedy when the king suffered from a swollen
belly. Carolus Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbia to the entire genus
in the physician's honor.
Juba II himself was a noted patron of the arts and sciences and sponsored
several expeditions and biological research. He also was a notable
author, writing several scholarly and popular scientific works such as
treatises on natural history and a best-selling traveller's guide to
Arabia. Euphorbia regisjubae (King Juba's Euphorbia) was named to
honor the king's contributions to natural history and his role in
bringing the genus to notice.
Euphorbia griffithii is named in honor of Dr William Griffith
(1810 - 1845) a medical doctor with the British East India Company and a
dedicated botanist who collected widely in Upper Burma, India and
Euphorbia griffithii is a native of Bhutan and south-east Tibet
where it grows in mixed oak, pine and rhododendron forests. It is an
herbaceous perennial with wide ranging, creeping underground rhizomes and
annual growths from 50 to 80cm (20 - 30"). Although I consider it a
very worthy garden plant, it's sprawling habit leaves a bit to be
The other parent involved in the creation of 'Jessie' is Euphorbia
polychroma, a yellow flowering native of Eastern and Central Europe.
This species tends to seed around the garden aggressively. The resulting
progeny of the marriage of these two diverse species is sterile and sets
The vivid yellow color of 'Jessie's' bracts is so intense that it melts
onto the top leaves. Each bract is edged with a brilliant orange
rim. E. 'Jessie' has been granted Plant Patent # 12858 by the US
Government Patent Office and is also protected by the COPF, the
Canadian Ornamental Plant Foundation. Asexual propagation is forbidden.
By the way, Euphorbias are among the most deer proof plants in the world
and 'Jessie' is no exception. Herds of deer have browsed all around her
and NEVER taken a single bite.
In case you're wondering where the name 'Jessie' comes from, it's for my
friend Jessica Levine, a local artist / community activist -
http://www.dottywood.org/ On a Summer meander through my garden,
Jessie, surrounded by all forms of greenery, exclaimed "Hey, Barry,
why is that one plant so different than all of the other plants around
it?" And different it was! The curious eye of an artist
observed a spontaneous, naturally occurring interspecific cross between
two species. Her discovery prompted me to begin experimenting with
Euphorbias and to name the plant in her honor.
I'm zone 5 here and we know she's hardy here for the last 7 years. I'd venture a guess that she'll grow well in any state of the US. As far as heat tolerance, my friend Jimmy Turner at the Dallas Arboretum in Dallas TX reported that she didn't blink an eye in 100 degree sun with 100 % RH, now that's one tough plant.
I grow her in full sun and the height is over 6 feet. In shade, you can expect 4 feet to 5 feet. A mature clump can be up to 3 feet in diameter.
Bloom time is the entire month of June here and it's now August and the plants all still look great.
I've been selling Euphorbia 'Jessie'