The Main Plant entry for Euphorbias (Euphorbia)

This database entry exists to show plant data and photos that apply generically to all Euphorbias.

General Plant Information (Edit)
Flowers: Other: In the genus Euphorbia, the flowers are reduced in size and aggregated into a cluster of flowers called a cyathium (plural cyathia). This feature is present in every species of the genus Euphorbia but nowhere else in the plant kingdom.
Dynamic Accumulator: B (Boron)
Toxicity: Other: All members of the genus Euphorbia produce a milky sap called latex that is toxic and can range from a mild irritant to very poisonous.


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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Feb 4, 2012 3:15 PM

The common name "spurge" derives from the Middle English/Old French word "espurge" which means "to purge" (due to the use of the plant's sap as a purgative).

The botanical name Euphorbia comes from Euphorbus, the Greek physician to King Juba II of Numidia (d. 23 AD) who married the daughter of Anthony and Cleopatra. He noted that one of the cactus-like Euphorbias was a powerful laxative. In 12 BC, Juba named this plant after his physician, Euphorbus. Botanist and taxonomist Carl Linnaeus assigned the name Euphorbia to the entire genus in the physician's honor.

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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on May 22, 2013 11:25 PM

"Euphorbia is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. Consisting of 2008 species, Euphorbia is one of the largest and most diverse genera in the plant kingdom, along with Rumex and Senecio. Members of the family and genus are commonly referred to as spurges.

The plants are annual or perennial herbs, woody shrubs or trees with a caustic, poisonous milky sap (latex). The roots are fine or thick and fleshy or tuberous. Many species are more or less succulent, thorny or unarmed. The main stem and mostly also the side arms of the succulent species are thick and fleshy, 6–36 inches tall. The deciduous leaves are opposite, alternate or in whorls. In succulent species the leaves are mostly small and short-lived. The stipules are mostly small, partly transformed into spines or glands, or missing.

The milky sap of spurges (called "latex") evolved as a deterrent to herbivores. It is white and colorless when dry, except in E. abdelkuri, where it is yellow. The pressurized sap seeps from the slightest wound and congeals after a few minutes in air. The specific composition of diterpene or triterpene esters varies, and determines how caustic and irritating a particular species is. In contact with mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth), the latex can produce extremely painful inflammation. Therefore, spurges should be handled with caution and kept away from children and pets. Latex on skin should be washed off immediately and thoroughly. Congealed latex is insoluble in water, but can be removed with an emulsifier like milk or soap. A physician should be consulted if inflammation occurs, as severe eye damage including permanent blindness may result from exposure to the sap. When large succulent spurges in a greenhouse are cut, vapours can cause irritation to the eyes and throat several metres away. Precautions, including sufficient ventilation, are required."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

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Plant Events from our members
tarev On June 3, 2017 Obtained plant
Obtained a noid hybrid Euphorbia succulent from Poot's Cactus Nursery in Ripon, CA
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