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Euphobiaceae: Euphorb Family

This family consists of a wide array of different plants. There are approximately 300 genera and 7,500 species. Some of these plants are mistaken for cacti because the family has members that have adapted succulent, photosynthetic stems, highly reduced leaves and spines. Very different however from cacti, is the presence of milky sap and the unique structure of the flowers. Many Euphorbs like Jathropa are extremely toxic.


Systematics: Euphorbs are all unisexual flowers. They range from 1) normally developing flowers to reduced flowers (maybe even just naked pistils) to 3) a highly reduced cyatheum. Cyatheums look like normal flowers but instead are many flowers combined into one structure that looks like a normal flower. The family has milky sap. There are peltate hairs. There are 3 carpels, 3 locules and 3 style branches.

Specimens List
Leafy Spurge

Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula)

This plant is an invasive plant in the united states VIDEO

Eurphorbiaceae Floral Diagram


Floral Diagram

Chinese Tallow Tree

Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera)

This is an invasive plant primarily in the southern United States. VIDEO


Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

This is the plant of Christmas. In the tropics it grows as a small tree.


Cassava (Manihot esculenta)

Native to Brazil it is now grown around the world as a source of starch. Its very important in many countries in Africa.


 

Links to more information

Dr Carr's UH Botany Ephorbiaceae Page


Video from an species in this Family: Leafy Spurge with Rob Nelson

 

 
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