Euphorbia tirucalli L.

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Euphorbia tirucalli

Picture: Bart Wursten
Rd to Domboshawa, Chinamora CL

Euphorbia tirucalli

Picture: Bart Wursten
Rd to Domboshawa, Chinamora CL

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Synonyms: Euphorbia media N.E. Br.
Euphorbia media N.E. Br. var. bagshawei N.E. Br.
Euphorbia rhipsaloides N.E. Br.
Euphorbia scoparia N.E. Br.
Common names:
Status: Probably introduced, but a frequent relic of cultivation and sometimes naturalised.
Unarmed, succulent shrub to 5 m, or a small tree to 12 m, with brittle succulent branches which are often whorled, c.7 mm thick, green with fine longitudinal white striations. Leaves few, linear-lanceolate to narrowly obovate, fleshy, present only on new growth and quickly deciduous. Cymes 2-6, congested at apices of branchlets, forking 2-4-times, producing cyathia, these usually either all male or all female. Cyathium c.3 × 4 mm; glands to 1.5 × 2 mm, 5, subspherical to transversely elliptic, bright yellow; lobes c.0.5 mm, triangular. Capsule c.8 × 8.5 mm, subspherical, glabrescent, exserted on a tomentose pedicel. Seeds 3.5 × 2.8 mm, ovoid, smooth.
Type location:
Lectotype from Sri Lanka
Derivation of specific name:
Habitat: Open woodland; very frequently planted and naturalising near habitation.
Altitude range:
Flowering time:Oct - Dec
Worldwide distribution: Widespread in tropical Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, India and the Far East.
Zambian distribution (Flora Zambesiaca): E,S
Zambian distribution (Provinces): E,C,Lk,S
Growth form(s): Tree, shrub over 2 m, shrub under 2 m.
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species

Burrows, J.E., Burrows, S.M., Lötter, M.C. & Schmidt, E. (2018). Trees and Shrubs Mozambique Publishing Print Matters (Pty), Cape Town. Page 456. (Includes a picture).

Carter, S. & Leach, L.C. (2001). Euphorbiaceae: subfamily Euphorbioideae: tribe Euphorbieae Flora Zambesiaca 9(5) Pages 391 - 392.

Curtis, B.A. & Mannheimer, C.A. (2005). Tree Atlas of Namibia National Botanic Research Institute, Windhoek Page 639.

Drummond, R.B. (1975). A list of trees, shrubs and woody climbers indigenous or naturalised in Rhodesia. Kirkia 10(1) Page 253.

Heath, A. & Heath, R. (2009). Field Guide to the Plants of Northern Botswana including the Okavango Delta Kew Publishing Page 90. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 57.

Other sources of information about Euphorbia tirucalli:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Botswana: cultivated Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Caprivi: Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Malawi: Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Mozambique: Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Zimbabwe: Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora of Zimbabwe: cultivated Euphorbia tirucalli

External websites:

African Plants: A Photo Guide (Senckenberg): Euphorbia tirucalli
African Plant Database: Euphorbia tirucalli
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Euphorbia tirucalli
BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library): Euphorbia tirucalli
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Euphorbia tirucalli
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Euphorbia tirucalli
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Euphorbia tirucalli
GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility): Euphorbia tirucalli
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network): Euphorbia tirucalli
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Euphorbia tirucalli
Ispot Southern Africa: Euphorbia tirucalli
JSTOR Plant Science: Euphorbia tirucalli
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Euphorbia tirucalli
Mansfeld World Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops: Euphorbia tirucalli
The Plant List (version 1.1): Euphorbia tirucalli
Tropicos: Euphorbia tirucalli

Copyright: Mike Bingham, Annette Willemen, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Mark Hyde, 2011-19

Bingham, M.G., Willemen, A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. and Hyde, M.A. (2019). Flora of Zambia: Species information: Euphorbia tirucalli., retrieved 26 May 2019

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