The genus name Euphorbia comes from the Greek word “eu” meaning “good” and “phora” meaning “odor”. This plant has been known since ancient times for its medicinal properties. In India, it was used to treat snake bites and scorpion stings.
There are over 400 species of euphorbias worldwide. They are mostly found in tropical regions. Some of them are poisonous, some are edible and some are both. The most common type is E.
tirucalli which grows up to a height of 1 meter. It can be seen all around us during summer. Its leaves look like small green pads with red dots on top.
These leaves have a milky white sap that oozes out when you cut or break the leaf. When this sap touches your skin, it causes severe itching.
Euphorbia hirta is another popular type of euphorbia. It is also called as Indian spurge because of its spiny leaves. You will find these plants growing along roadsides and paths.
Their leaves are covered by long hairs. The stems are hollow and contain latex. If you touch the stem, it will cause an intense burning sensation.
The latex is toxic and can cause serious health problems if ingested.
Euphorbia peplus is one of the most commonly grown types of euphorbia. Its leaves are similar to those of hirta, but they are smaller and more rounded.
The flowers are yellowish-white and grow in clusters at the end of branches. There are many varieties of peplus.
Most of them are edible and can be eaten raw. However, there are some that are not safe to eat. For example, you should avoid eating any variety of peplus that contains latex.
Another type of euphorbia is E. esula. It is native to Africa and Asia. It is a perennial herb that grows up to a height between 30 cm and 60 cm. Its leaves are round and about 3 inches wide.
The flowers are pinkish-red and grow in clusters. The seeds are black and hard. The roots are used medicinally to cure stomach disorders.
This family includes many important crops such as cotton, rubber, coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, tea, tobacco, etc. The family consists of two subfamilies; Euphorbiinae and Ceroxyloideae.
The Euphorbiinae subfamily includes the following genera: Acalypha, Adromischus, Aloe, Aneilema, Atriplex, Balsamocarpon, Caralluma, Chamaesyce, Cissampelos, Conyza, Croton, Dichapetalum, Elaeis, Eremophila, Euphorbia, Galphimia, Gossypium, Heterotheca, Hippomane, Ipomoea, Juncus, Larrea, Leucaena, Macaranga, Manilkara, Moringa, Myrsine, Nuxia, Oenothera, Parinari, Phyllanthus, Psidium, Raphistoma, Rhynchosia, Sclerocarya, Spathodea, Strophanthes, Tectaria, Tragia, Vigna, Xanthophyllum, Ziziphus.
The Ceroxyloidea subfamily includes the following four genera: Ceratonia, Colquhounia, Cryptostegia, and Euphorbia.
The genus Euphorbia belongs to the subfamily Euphorbiinae. The genus Euphorbia comprises approximately 350 species. All members of this genus produce milky latex when broken.
The latex is toxic if swallowed. It affects the kidneys and liver. It may lead to kidney failure and death. This is why people who live near Euphorbia plants must wear gloves while handling them.
The genus Euphorbia comprises about 350 species. The majority of these species are from the tropics. Many of them are cultivated for their ornamental value.
Others are used as food plants.
There are three main types of euphorbia:
1. Common garden euphorbia (Euphorbia characias)
2. Milkweed (Euphorbia lactea)
3. Spurge (Euphorbia spp.)
Common Garden Euphorbia
Euphorbia charicias is known as common garden euphorbia or milkweed. It is a very popular plant among gardeners. In fact, it is considered to be one of the easiest plants to grow. The plant has large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. These leaves have a strong odor.
They are usually green. The stems are thick and covered by small hairs. The inflorescence is a cluster of tiny white flowers. The plant produces a milky latex when cut. If you touch the latex on your skin, it will cause painful swelling. It is also poisonous.
Euphorbia lactea is called milkweed. It is an annual herbaceous plant. It is found throughout North America. It is also found in Europe and parts of Asia. It is a member of the spurge family. \
The plant has long, narrow leaves. The leaves are mostly dark green. There are no side branches. The stem is hairy. The flower is yellowish-green in color. It blooms during summer months. The plant bears numerous small white flowers.
The plant has a milky latex that can irritate the eyes. It is not harmful to humans. However, it should be avoided because it contains milky sap which causes eye irritation.
Euphorbias are a group of flowering plants belonging to the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). They are commonly referred to as spurgs.
The name comes from the Latin word spurgere meaning “to prick”. The spurgs are native to tropical regions of Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and Central America.
They are also widely grown as ornamentals around the world. They are easy to grow, and they bloom all year round.
Most spurgs bear showy flowers. Their flowers are often brightly colored. Some spurgs bear fruits that look like berries. Other spurgs do not bear any fruit at all. The fruits contain seeds that are dispersed by wind or water.
Many spurgs are poisonous. For example, Euphorbia esula is highly toxic. It contains substances that can damage the kidneys. It can even cause death. Therefore, it is dangerous to handle.
People who come into contact with the plant must wash their hands thoroughly after touching it.
Some spurgs are edible. For example, Euphoria gravida is eaten as a vegetable. It tastes similar to cucumbers. Other spurgs are used as medicine.
For example, Euphora japonica is used to treat rheumatism. It is also used to make tea. It is believed that drinking this tea helps cure colds and coughs.
The following list shows some spurgs that are commonly available in nurseries:
1. Common Garden Euphorbia (Euphorbia characias)
2. Milkweed (Euphorbia lacteas)
3. Spurge (Eupohbria spp.)
4. Spiny Spurge (Euphorbia spinosa)
5. Heartleaf Spurge (Euphobia helioscopia)
6. Red-spined Spurge (Euphobium glabrum)
7. Yellow-spined Spurge(Euphobium myrsinites)
8. White-flowered Spurge (Euphobiopsis hybrida)
9. Black-spiked Spurge (Euphoba aculeata)
10. Pink-blossomed Spurge (Euphoma cyparissias)
11. Blue-flowered Spurge(Euphorbia cornigera)
12. Green-flowered Spurge (Euphorbia trigona)
13. Orange-flowered Spurge or Euphyllum californicum
14. Brown-flowered Spurge
15. Common Spurge (Euphorbiodes lathyris)
16. Purple-flowering Spurge (Euphoebia purpurea)
17. Yellow-flowered Spurge, or Euphorbia maculata
18. Scarlet-flowered Spurge, or Euphorbia cotinifolia
19. Golden-flowered Spurge, or Euphorbia obesa
20. Blue-flowered spurge (Euphorba cyparissias)
21. Yellow-flowered spurge, or Euphorba amygdaloides
22. Red-flowered spurge or Euphorbia royleana
23. Pink-flowered spurge
24. Pink-flowered Euphorbia (E. polychroma)
25. Yellow-flowered Euphorba (E. genistelloides)
26. Yellow-flowered euphorbia (E. gilliesii)
27. Yellow-flowered spurg (E. exaltata)
28. Yellow-flowered phormium (Phormium tenax)
29. Yellow-flowered Phormium (P. tenax var. albo-viridis)
30. Yellow-flowered P. tenax (var. viridiflora)
31. Yellow-flowered pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
32. Yellow-flowered Epipremnum (E. aureum)
33. Yellow-flowered epipremnum (Euphorbia mauritiana)
34. Yellow-flowered E. mauritiana (var. hirtipes)
35. Yellow-flowered Dicksonia (D. antarctica)
36. Yellow-flowered Dracaena (Dracaena fragrans)
37. Yellow-flowered dracaena (Dracaenasalix)
38. Yellow-flowered Drosera (Drosera rotundifolia)
39. Yellow-flowered Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana)
40. Yellow-flowered kalanchoe (K. blossfeldiana)
41. Yellow-flowered Livistona (Livistona australis)
42. Yellow-flowered Lithops (Lithops caffra)
43. Yellow-flowered lithops (L. caffra var. angustifolia)
44. Yellow-flowered Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)
45. Yellow-flowered philodendron (P. bipinnatifidus)
46. Yellow-flowered Pitcairnia (P. cerifera)
47. Yellow-flowered pitcairnia (P. flava)
48. Yellow-flowered Rhipsalis (Rhipsalis baccifera)
49. Yellow-flowered Rhizanthes (Rhizanthes suberosa)
50. Yellow-flowered Zantedeschia (Zantedeschia aethiopica)
51. Yellow-flowered zantedeschia (zantedeschia aegyptiaca)
52. Yellow-flowered Alocasia (Alocasia zebrina)
53. Yellow-flowered Aechmea (Aechmea fasciata)
54. Yellow-flowered Aglaonema (Aglaonemasilvaticum)
55. Yellow-flowered Amorphophallus (Amorphophallus titanicus)
56. Yellow-flowered Argyreia (Argyreia speciosa)
57. Yellow-flowered Aspidistra (Aspidistra elaeagnifolia)
58. Yellow-flowered Azolla (Azolla caroliniana)
59. Yellow-flowered Bambusa (Bambusa balcooa)
60. Yellow-flowered Borassus (Borassus aethiopicus)
Why Should I Grow Euphorbia?
The genus Euphorbia is one of the largest in the plant kingdom and contains more than 400 species. The most familiar are probably the common garden spurge, which have been used as ornamentals for centuries. They are easy to grow from seed and can be grown as houseplants.
They require little attention other than watering during dry spells and fertilizing once every two weeks with a weak solution of fish emulsion. Some species are toxic if ingested by humans or animals so care should be taken when handling them.
Many species of Euphorbia produce beautiful flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Many of these plants are also useful as ground cover because they spread quickly and shade out weeds. As listed above, there are many types of Euphorbia, some of which are poisonous and others not.
To conclude, there are numerous types of Euphorbia plants available to choose from. Each has its own unique characteristics and uses. With careful selection, you will find one that suits your needs perfectly!