Sunday, March 23, 2008

What Was Jesus' "Crown of Thorns"?

While it's not known for sure what thorny plant was used for the crown of thorns Jesus wore as he died on the cross, it's believed to be Euphorbia milii. The plant is native to Madagascar, but that's not to say it wasn't in Israel also.

It certainly has plenty of thorns along its branches, unlike other Euphorbias we're familiar with (Snow on the Mountain, for example). However, the blooms give away its heritage, as they are typical of the genus. It comes in several colors, including red, pink, yellow, and white.

I've found this Euphorbia to be quite easily grown as a potted house plant that I move outside for the summer. It likes its soil to be well-draining and on the dry side. It's happiest in full sun, where the color of its bloom is deeper than if it's in less lighted areas. While it's a year-round bloomer, it has less blooms in the clusters in the winter - even in a south window - than when it's in full sun outside in the summer.

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Aiyana said...

Most of the Euphorbia milli common here in Phoenix is a coral color. Your pink one is really pretty. Although my Crown of Thorns is in a container, many gardeners here have them in their garden and they can become quite large.
Happy GTS,

Julie said...

Isn't this a beautiful plant? My neighbor has some that have grown very tall and they look so regal. I wouldn't doubt that this could have been Jesus' crown of thorns!!! WOW!

Kerri said...

Interesting to read a little about the plant. It's a beauty. I love the color of the blooms against those lovely leaves.
I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I always just assumed that it was some type of locust tree.

Unknown said...

I have a yellow E. milii and really like it--a soft yellow, and still a small plant, but I plan to put it outdoors for the summer; whenever that happens, of course. Meanwhile, we'll wait for spring.

Unknown said...

Interesting... your e. milii has a pattern to its thorns that are way different than the ones on mine! I'll have to show off a stalk of mine so you can see the difference. Mine hasn't bloomed at all yet, so I wonder if different bloom colors have different thorn patterns, too?

Victoria Williams said...

Thanks. I'll try putting my outside (gradually) into the sun this year, see if that will help it to bloom.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have always thought that was an interesting story aobut the crown of thorns. It is a lovely plant. I have not seen that form of thorns on one before either.

Anonymous said...

I'm not terribly religious (publically) but I am history buff AND a gardening enthusiast.

I love that Euphorbia milli has the appellattion of "Crown of Thorns".

Of course, Scripture is not clear as to what the thorny plant actually was (Matthew (27:29), Mark (15:17), and John (19:2, 5)), and there are many available choices. It doesn't really matter. That there was a thorny crown is enough.

A crown of thorns is appropriate. In Western Culture, Thorns = Sin.

After all, when Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and were cast out of Eden, God said to Adam (according to the King James Bible):

"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; (Genesis 3:17)

in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (3:18)

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."(3:19)

And this is when we all became gardeners of our own accord, and no longer merely residents within the garden of another.

Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Genesis (3:23)

This always makes me feel a little better.

Anyway... I grow a good deal Barberry Berberis (Berberis thunbergii).

You see, it has been speculated that it was a crown of Barberry that was placed on the head of Jesus.

In Italy, Barberry is sometimes called the Holy Thorn, because... IT was believed to be the plant used to make the Crown of Thorns.

Who knows?

It doesn't matter.

I do not wish to disparage anyone's beliefs, but there are - today - several purported remnants of this thorny crown. I don't know if they are genuine or not.

But isn't interesting how we can look into our gardens and be connected to everything which has come before?

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