Euphorbia lactea

Euphorbia lactea Haw.

Common Names: Mottled Spurge

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Euphorbia lactea grows as a succulent up to 5 m in height. The stems are 3 or 4-angled with spines along the ridges. The leaves are reduced to spines and the stem is photosynthetic with yellow lines along it.

The incomplete, imperfect, monoecious, actinomorphic, are arranged in glabrous cyathia clustered along the stem ridges. There are 4 or 5, yellow-green, elongate, glands 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 lactea grows in Human Altered environments (yards, nurseries).

Distribution: Euphorbia lactea is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago. It is native to Sri Lanka but has is now naturalized throughout the world in tropical and subtropical areas.

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

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

Euphorbia lactea has been used in the horticultural industry and for living fences.