Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

We have moved to a new house and are in the process of tackling some of the garden. There are a couple of very tall (fully mature) beech trees which over the years have had their lower branches removed so they have a high canopy. Under the trees is quite a large section of garden which has gone wild with ‘spurge’ with perennial weeds in amongst it. What is the best way of clearing it out so it won’t return? And what can we plant that will become a decent height to act as a bit of a barrier to the road? But mainly we really want to know the best way of clearing – I’m trying to avoid bio warfare!



Hello, If weedkillers are out, then the best way to tackle it would be to dig the unwanted plants out. You may need to be vigilant in spring next however as I’m sure some of them will want to make a re-appearance. It will take time, but if you keep cutting them back, the plants will eventually become so weakened that they will disappear. As for what to plant when you have cleared it, I would recommend one of the Sarcococcas



What plants would you recommend for my Mediterranean style garden? Our garden is quite well established and has a Mediterranean feel. We have quite a few spaces that need filling and were hoping you could suggest a few things?

Mrs C Taylor

2005-03-31 2005-04-01


What can I plant in a Mediterranean style garden? I want give my garden a Mediterranean look but I do not know what to plant. Could you please help? 2005-03-29 2005-03-30


landscape architect’s pages

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae (01/05/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to full shade.

Soil: Moist but well drained.

Flowering period: Late spring to early summer.

Eventual Height: 80cm

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 6a-9a

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae Seed Head (01/05/2011, London)

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae is a softly hairy, evergreen perennial with a bushy habit. Its reddish green stems bear spoon shaped to obovate, shiny, leathery leaves which are up to 6cm long. In early spring and early summer it bears terminal cymes of greenish yellow cyathia and involucres. This plant spreads by means of underground root runners.

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae, commonly known as Wood Spurge and the variety robbiae is also known as Mrs Robb’s Bonnet. The species Euphorbia amygdaloides is found throughout Europe in moist woodland habitats.

Euphorbia is named after Euphorbus, physician to Juba, a king of Mauritania. Amygdaloides is derived from the Greek amugdalos ‘an almond tree’ and oeidhs ‘egg shaped’. Robbiae is named for the plant hunter who discovered it, Mary-Anne Robb, with its common name coming from how she had to smuggle it through customs, in her hat.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae Leaf (12/09/2015, Walworth, London)

The landscape architect may find Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae is useful as an effective ground cover, as it spreads by root runners. Its drought tolerance also lends this plant to xeriscaping. This plant will also tolerate full shade and coastal conditions. Care should be exercised when locating this plant as its sap may cause an allergic reaction in some people and its sap is toxic when ingested.

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae is happy at most pH levels and the soil may be chalk, loam or sand. It may be placed in a sheltered or exposed location but will not tolerate a north facing position.

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae winter flower (11/01/2012, London)

Ecologically, Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae will attract pollinating insects such as bees that will feed on its nectar.

The Royal Horticultural Society have given Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae their prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae requires little maintenance. Flowering shoots may be cut back to the ground in late summer or autumn to promote new growth and a tidy appearance.

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet)

Botanical name

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

Other names

Mrs Robb’s bonnet, Euphorbia robbiae


Euphorbia Euphorbia


E. amygdaloides var robbiae – E. amygdaloides var robbiae is a spreading, evergreen perennial with rosettes of oblong, leathery, glossy, dark green leaves and cymes of yellow-green flowers from mid-spring to early summer.






All parts of the plant are highly toxic if ingested. The milky sap may cause irritation to skin and eyes.

Create your free Shoot garden

Create your free SHOOT garden and make a record of the plants in your garden.

Add your own photos, notes, get monthly email reminders on how to care for your plants, and connect with other gardeners. Get started now.



Yellow-green in Spring; Yellow-green in Summer

Dark-green in All seasons

How to care

Watch out for

Specific pests


Specific diseases

Grey mould

General care


Cut spent flower shoots to the base in late summer or autumn.

Propagation methods


Get access to monthly care advice

Create a free SHOOT account and get instant access to expert care advice for this and other plants in your garden.

You’ll also receive handy monthly email reminders of what needs doing. Create your free account.

Where to grow

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet) will reach a height of 0.5m and a spread of 1m after 2-5 years.

Suggested uses

Architectural, City, Cottage/Informal, Beds and borders, Ground Cover, Low Maintenance, Underplanting, Woodland


Tolerates most soil types and is happy in sun or shade. It can be invasive, spreading by rhizomes and seed.

Soil type

Chalky, Loamy, Sandy

Soil drainage

Moist but well-drained, Well-drained

Soil pH

Acid, Alkaline, Neutral


Partial Shade, Full Shade, Full Sun


South, East, West


Exposed, Sheltered

UK hardiness Note: We are working to update our ratings. Thanks for your patience.

Hardy (H4)

USDA zones

Zone 9, Zone 8, Zone 7, Zone 6

Defra’s Risk register #1

Plant name

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet)

Common pest name

grape ground pearl

Scientific pest name

Margarodes vitis



Current status in UK


Likelihood to spread to UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Impact (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

General biosecurity comments

Main pathway; Vitis spp. plants for planting; already prohibited. However; further consideration of other pathways is required.

Defra’s Risk register #2

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet)

Powdery mildew: cotton; Powdery mildew: eggplant; Powdery mildew: pepper; Powdery mildew: tomato

Leveillula taurica


Present (Limited)

Likelihood to spread in UK (1 is very low – 5 is very high)

Believed to be present and no statutory action is being taken. Status needs to be confirmed by survey.

Defra’s Risk register #3

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae (Mrs Robb’s bonnet)

Banded-winged whitefly

Trialeurodes abutiloneus



Polyphagous whitefly native to the Americas with the potential to introduce harmful viruses to the UK. EU regulation should be considered and further assessed by EPPO.

About this section

Our plants are under greater threat than ever before. There is increasing movement of plants and other material traded from an increasing variety of sources. This increases the chances of exotic pests arriving with imported goods and travellers, as well as by natural means. Shoot is working with Defra to help members to do their part in preventing the introduction and spread of invasive risks.

Traveling or importing plants? Please read “Don’t risk it” advice here

Suspected outbreak?

Date updated: 7th March 2019 For more information visit:

Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae

wood spurge Interesting Notes

Many of the herbaceous, leafy species of Euphorbia are commonly called “spurges.” This word derives from the Old French word espurgier (Latin expurgare), which means “to purge.” The sap of many herbaceous Euphorbia species have traditionally been used as a purgative, or laxative. – PBI Euphorbia Project

What we perceive as “flowers” are usually colored leaves or bracts at one of several levels, from the bases of the clusters to their ultimate divisions. These may remain colorful (or even grow more so) long after the flowers have passed. A feature hidden until some part of the plant is cut or broken is the milky sap, which is usually poisonous to some degree, sometimes violently so (see the plant descriptions below). Those of us engaged in pitched battles with gophers, deer and rabbits will appreciate this feature, for it makes many euphorbias nearly immune to attack. However, those of you with small children will want to wait to plant them until the age of testing each new object in the mouth has passed. – Suncrest Nurseries

Euphorbias make up of one of the largest and most diverse plant families in the world. Annuals, hardy perennials, shrubs, trees, succulents and cacti are all well represented in most countries. Their bizarre shapes, from golf-ball-like to spiny shrubs, can disguise the connection until their charming flowers show the family’s floral characteristics.

I look after a large garden which has a large banked area, planted up with Euonymous, cornus, buddleia, philadelphus and quercus ilex, the euphorbia is used as a filler in the corners. Over the last 2 winters they have gradually rotted off, could you suggest an alternative please

Sylvia’s Potting Shed

2016-03-16 2016-03-18


HI, Given their habit for spreading how far apart should I plant a group of these?



Hello, It really depends on how impatient you are. They will eventually spread up to 1m across, so in theory you could plant them 1m apart, but for a more a more immediate impact, I would recommend planting at 45cm intervals.

2015-04-08 What plants would you recommend for my Mediterranean style garden? Our garden is quite well established and has a Mediterranean feel. We have quite a few spaces that need filling and were hoping you could suggest a few things?

Mrs C Taylor

2005-03-31 2005-04-01


What can I plant in a Mediterranean style garden? I want give my garden a Mediterranean look but I do not know what to plant. Could you please help? 2005-03-29 2005-03-30


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *