euhd.jpg (20251 bytes)There are over 2000 species of plants in this genus which was described by Linnaeus in 1753.  The plants are quite diverse from large annual trees to small succulent species. 

The flowers are quite complex and are called a cyathium.  The cyathium usually consists of five bracts which usually have one female flower and many male flowers.  The cyathium may have many reduced flowers which could be unisexual or bisexual.  The involucre has protective bracts that are colourful and/or attractive to pollinators.  The five-lobed involucre bear nectaries which produce a scented nectar that attracts pollinators.  Once the flowers have been successfully pollinated the ovary ripens into a three chambered explosive pod.  A little glue on the pods prevent them from exploding & enough glue prevents the pod from falling off.

There is a simple way to distinguish Euphorbias from other succulents, a simple pinprick will release a white latex that is poisonous and an irritant (it is always a good idea to use gloves when working with plants from this genus.

Euphorbias are widespread but the succulent species occur in India, Arabia, Madagascar and to the Cape in Southern Africa.

euphorbia_bupleurifolia_Grahamstown.JPG (34208 bytes) Euphorbia_esculenta_Steyterville.JPG (44444 bytes) euphorbia_hamata_fl_nuwerus.JPG (64562 bytes) euphorbia_horrida.JPG (105429 bytes)
Euphorbia bupleurifolia Euphorbia esculenta Euphorbia hamata Euphorbia horrida
euphorbia_mauritanica.jpg (45182 bytes) euphorbia_millii.JPG (19603 bytes) euphorbia_namibiensis.JPG (37244 bytes) Euphorbia_obesa.JPG (37089 bytes)
Euphorbia mauritanica Euphorbia millii Euphorbia namibensis Euphorbia obesa
Euphorbia_tuberosa.JPG (56731 bytes) euphorbia_turbiniformis_gmarx.JPG (26189 bytes)
Euphorbia tuberculata Euphorbia turbiniformis

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