Euphorbia tirucalli

Euphorbia tirucalli L.

Common Names: Pencil Cactus, Pencil Tree, Milk Bush, Naked Lady

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Habit: Euphorbia tirucalli grows as a succulent up to 5 m in height. There are leaves are deciduous early after merging and the stems are photosynthetic. The stems have a yellowish milky latex.

Euphorbia tirucalli is dioecious. The incomplete, imperfect, monoecious, actinomorphic, are arranged in terminal cymes of cyathia.  The cymes are glabrous or with pubescent when immature. There is are 5 green, elliptic to oblong, 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 tirucalli grows in Human Altered environments (yards and gardens).

Distribution in Bahamas/Globally: Euphorbia tirucalli is NOT native to the Lucayan Archipelago but occurs on multiple islands throughout the archipelago. It is native to central and southern Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

It has become widespread as an ornamental.

Medicinal/Cultural/Economic usage: Euphorbia tirucalli is not known to be used medicinally in the Lucayan Archipelago.

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

Euphorbia tirucalli has been used in the horticultural industry.