Euphorbia heterophylla

Euphorbia heterophylla L.

Common Names: Jacob's Ladder, Governor Grant’s Livery

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Euphorbia heterophylla grows as a slightly pubescent, annual herb up to 1 m in height. The leaves are arranged oppositely, up to 12 cm in length, ovate, with an entire or toothed leaf margin and an obtuse leaf apex. At the base of the petiole are short lived stipules.  The vegetation is can be red.

The incomplete, imperfect, monoecious, actinomorphic, are arranged in glabrous cyathia clustered at branch/stem tips. There is 1 yellow-green, elongate, cup shaped, gland on the edge of the cyathia. There is no calyx or corolla. Staminate flowers are reduced to a single stamen.  Carpellate flowers are reduced to a single superior carpel, each with 3 locules and numerous seeds.  The glabrous fruit is a ridged capsule at maturity that splits along 3 suture lines.

Habitat: Euphorbia heterophylla grows in Human Altered environments (yards, abandoned fields, nurseries).

Distribution: Euphorbia heterophylla occurs throughout the island groupings of the Lucayan Archipelago, the Caribbean region, North, Central and South America. It has naturalized across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Euphorbia heterophylla is not known to be used medicinally in the Bahamas.

All parts of the species are extremely toxic and should not be ingested!!