Euphorbia Chameleon Or Change Is Our Name
It is time to sing the praises of a perennial we ignore most of the time. But when the fallen leaves are becoming compost and the flowers are mere memories, Euphorbia dulcis ‘Chameleon’ grabs us by the collar and gets right in our faces with leaves illuminated by the lower light of late fall. In the photo above you can see the array of colors on a single plant, interspersed with the green of Japanese climbing fern and in the upper right the honeyed strands of fading muhly grass. Textural hellebore leaves complete the tableau.A low mounding form of bronzy purple foliage turning to shades of pinks in cold temperatures makes for excitement in the doldrums of grays and tans. Hardy in USDA zones 4-9, this a good purple accent plant for cold winter climes.Self seeding true to form is a desirable trait. The babies arise in the gravel paths and in the beds on the slope with equal ease. The claims are that deer avoid the milky sap exuded from the stems when cut. We do not have any deer in the garden here, but rabbits are said to be repelled as well. No pest damage has been noted in the eight years of growing this little lovely. In late spring the flowers are yellow with green bracts, a nice contrast to the maroon foliage.Now is the time the changing leaf color, from whence this cultivar gets its name, attracts our notice. It is not a uniform transformation.This is one plant in the photo above. The close up of the lighter section is the shot before.The original two plants, well it was really one but we divided it for symmetry and frugality, were planted on either side of the pond under the two Japanese maples. Seeding occurred and now there are many progeny lining the forty foot long wall behind the main house in addition to many in the pathways and slope beds. They pop up randomly in the entire property.This is a good drought tolerant evergreen with color interest and small stature. When moved they will sulk and pout for a time, but get over it and put out fresh new leaves before long. This fellow is one of the brightest ones. Not until the photo was loaded on the computer did we notice a visitor at the end of the leaf. What is it?So very tiny, it may be one of the flying ant type things that hatched last week as the camera was being test driven on new settings. It seems to be feeding on some bit of green goo. We will imagine that this is some melted by the frost leaf slime rather than something more distasteful, won’t we?