Euphorbia lactea

Euphorbia lactea is a species of spurge native to tropical Asia, mainly in India.[1]

Euphorbia lactea
E lactea ies.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
E. lactea
Binomial name
Euphorbia lactea
Euphorbia lactea in Kourou, French Guiana.

It is an erect shrub growing up to 5 metres (16 ft) tall, with succulent branches 3–5 centimetres (1.2–2.0 in) diameter, ridged, with a triangular or rhombic cross-section; the ridges are spiny, with short spines up to 5 millimetres (0.20 in) long. The leaves are minute, and soon deciduous.[1] All parts of the plant contain a poisonous milky latex.[2] Common names include mottled spurge,[3] frilled fan[citation needed], elkhorn[citation needed], candelabra spurge,[3] candelabrum tree, candelabra cactus, candelabra plant, dragon bones,[3] false cactus,[3] hatrack cactus,[3] milkstripe euphorbia, mottled candlestick.

60 year old Euphorbia lactea var. Cristata located at the Duke University greenhouse, Durham, USA.

It is used medicinally in India.[4] It is widely grown as an ornamental plant, both in the tropics, and as a houseplant in temperate regions; a number of cultivars have been selected for ornamental use, notably 'Cristata' with frilled branching.[1][5]


  1. ^ a b c Huxley, A, ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. ISBN 0-333-47494-5
  2. ^ Poisonous plants: Euphorbia lactea Archived 2009-06-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c d e "Euphorbia lactea". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  4. ^ Plant of the Euphorbia lactea
  5. ^ Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Euphorbia lactea