H Euphorbia laurifolia Juss. ex Lam. is an accepted name. This name is the accepted name of a species in the genus Euphorbia (family Euphorbiaceae). Euphorbia laurifolia is the name of a species, part of the genus Euphorbia. This species has been described by Juss. ex Lam. under the rules of the International . Family: Euphorbiaceae Juss. Genus: Euphorbia L. Euphorbia laurifolia Juss. ex Lam. This species is accepted, and its native range is W. South America to NW.

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What makes a Euphorbia Origin of the cyathium Fruits and seeds Diversity of life forms Uses and toxicity Systematics and classification The botanical name Euphorbia Common names.

Euphorbia laurifolia Lam.

Euphorbia is a genus of plants in the Euphorbiaceae family. It contains at least 2, species and is one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants on earth. Many of the species are known as “spurges. There are many herbaceous spurges, especially in temperate zones worldwide, but the genus is best known for its many succulent species, some of which appear very similar to cacti.

Succulent euphorbias are most diverse in southern and eastern Africa and Madagascar, but they also occur in tropical Asia and the Americas.

What makes a Euphorbia?

Euphorbia laurifolia Juss. ex Lam.

All flowers in the Euphorbiaceae are unisexual either male or female onlyand they are often very small in size. In Euphorbiathe flowers are reduced even more and then aggregated into an inflorescence or cluster of flowers known as a “cyathium” plural cyathia. This feature is present in every species of the genus but nowhere else in the plant kingdom. Whereas most other large genera of plants differ in features of the flowers themselves, Euphorbia varies instead in features of the cyathium, which can show amazing modifications in different groups within the genus.

The main defining feature of the cyathium is the floral envelope or involucre that surrounds each group of flowers. The involucre almost always has one or more special glands attached to it, most often on the upper rim, and these glands and their appendages vary greatly in size and shape.

There may be specialized leaves called cyathophylls or cyathial leaves that surround the cyathium and give an overall flower-like appearance to the whole complex inflorescence. Inside the involucre are the flowers, usually with a number of extremely simplified male flowers consisting of a single anther, filament, and pedicel.

Generally there is a single female flower in the center consisting of a pedicel, a three-parted ovary, and no petals or sepals associated with it. With this basic model of the cyathium, many modifications upon it have evolved in the genus, as well as in the aggregation of cyathia into higher order units.

Some of the variations are described below: Cyathia can differ widely in the presence of associated bracts or cyathophylls. In other cases, such as E. There are also many Euphorbia species in which cyathophylls and colored bracts are absent. The number and forms of involucral glands as well as gland appendages varies enormously as shown by these examples below. Cyathia are often aggregated into more complex units synflorescencesusually based on an inflorescence model called a cyme or an umbel.

In terms of symmetry, cyathia can be essentially actinomorphic, with many planes of symmetry, or slightly or strongly zygomorphic bilaterally symmetrical, with only one plane of symmetry. Gerhard Prenner and Paula Rudall at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England are currently studying the origin of the cyathium by comparing its early stages of development using scanning electron micrography and comparing them to the closest relatives of Euphorbia.


They track the origin of Euphorbia to relatives from the Old World Australia, New Caledonia, Africa, and Madagascar and conclude that the cyathium evolved from a more open grouping of flowers called a thyrse, with a terminal female flower surrounded by cymes of male flowers. From this kind of precursor, the cyathium was presumably formed by a strong condensation of the inflorescence into its current involucres. The most surprising suggestion from the Prenner and Rudall studies is that the cyathium is neither a flower nor an inflorescence, but rather a “hybrid” in which regulatory genes that normally control features of individual flowers have overlapped into the inflorescence itself.

More details about this research can be found in: Comparative ontogeny of the cyathium in Euphorbia Euphorbiaceae and its allies: Exploring the organ-flower-inflorescence boundary.

American Journal of Botany The colorized scanning electron micrograph on the right is reproduced here with permission of the American Journal of Botany.

Fruits of Euphorbia are capsules that typically split open explosively when ripe. There are potentially three seeds per capsule, and there is a wide variety of size, shape, and surface features of the seeds and capsules.

Seeds of some species have a fleshy appendage called the caruncle above the point of attachment to the central column of the fruit. The variety of habits or life forms is one of the most salient features of Euphorbia.

There are many annual or perennial herbs, and these tend to retain leaves through their active growing periods. At its simplest, in a number of species in the Chamaescyce lineage, the plant eeuphorbia germinate, dichotomously branch, flower, fruit, and die in a matter of weeks.

There are also leafy shrubs and trees species that can reach 20 meters high. A large portion of euphorbias, however, are succulent, with thickened, photosynthetic stems and very ephemeral leaves if euphlrbia at all.

Many succulents are in turn thorny, and some have well developed underground tubers. Here we show a small representation of Euphorbia life forms: The main uses of spurges are horticultural.

There are hundreds of cultivars of Poinsettia E. There are also eupborbia herbaceous species that are cultivated, such as Snow on the Mountain E. Among the succulent or thorny species, E. Euphorbia obesa is a commonly cultivated globoid and thornless species. The Pencil tree of Milk bush E. Euphorbia tithymaloides is an American native that is widely grown in warm climates worldwide.

Euphorbia cotinifolia and E. Some species of Euphorbia have been used in folk medicine over the centuries, especially in the Euphorbia esula alliance. Candelilla wax is obtained from E. The milky sap or latex euporbia spurges is suggested to have a protective and defensive role in helping heal wounds and in deterring potential plant-eaters. There is a wide variety of chemical compounds present in Euphorbia sap, and some of them are toxic and potentially carcinogenic.

Compounds known as terpene esters are common and often account for the extremely caustic and irritating properties of the milky sap, either by direct contact with the skin or even by exposure to the air and inflammation of the eyes or mucous membranes. Our understanding of the relationships of Euphorbia has been bolstered by comparative DNA sequence data from many species, and these results support a broad view of the genus that includes a number of groups that were formerly recognized as different genera, such as ChamaesyceMonadeniumPedilanthusand Poinsettia.


The most current information places Euphorbia species into four distinct monophyletic groups or clades. Recent work by Kenneth Wurdack and Benjamin Van Ee has examined 15 different regions from the three plant genomes nuclear, chloroplast, and mitochondrialand this now shows clear support for the following relationships among the four main clades of Euphorbia: The implications of this finding for understanding the evolution of Euphorbia are significant, and further understanding the phylogenetic relationships within subgenus Esula may help us understand where and how the genus evolved and spread to its current worldwide distribution.

Euphorbia laurifolia ยท

Origin of the botanical Latin name Euphorbia. Euphorbia ruphorbia the official botanical name for the genus when Carolus Linnaeus published it in the first edition of his book Species Plantarum, in p. The name, however, goes much euphorba back laurifloia history, and we can trace its origin at least as far back as the Roman officer Pliny the Elder, who named Euphorbia in his book, the Natural History of Pliny 79 AD.

The Romans defeated Juba I in 46 BC and euphorrbia his son back to Rome, where he was educated and became a learned scholar with interests in natural history.

Apparently Juba’s romanization did not sit ephorbia with the local population, and after a few years in Numidia, Augustus transferred him to become King of Mauretania a Berber kingdom that was part of present-day western Algeria and northern Morocco — not the same as modern Mauritania, which is located on the Atlantic coast of Africa south of Western Sahara. According to Pliny, after Juba moved to Mauretania, he was treated with a plant with powerful medicinal properties, and he named the plant after his Greek physician Euphorbus.

Since euphorbus also means “good fodder” or well-fed in Greek, there is also some speculation that Juba coined the name because both the plant and his physician were lurifolia rather fleshy constitution. Juba II also commissioned an expedition to the Canary Islands, where other species of Euphorbia were found.

One of the Canary species was eventually named Euphorbia regis-jubae in his honor. Many of the herbaceous, leafy species of Euphorbia are commonly called “spurges. Threre are many laurifolai names for particular species of Euphorbia. Some other names used for different species of Euphorbia include “Snow-on-the-mountian”, “Medusa’s head”, “Mexican fire plant”, and “Scarlet plume”.

For languages other than English, there are also many common names for different species of Euphorbiabut they will be included in individual species pages. Digital art and illustrations: Red Cyathophylls Red bracteate leaves and cyathophylls Green cyathophylls White bracteate leaves.

Euphorbia laurifolia | Live Plant Photos | The Field Museum

Fused glands, u-shaped Single gland Single gland. Five glands Six glands with petaloid appendages Fused glands, ring-shaped. Five glands with fingerlike appendages Four glands with laurifolis appendages Five glands without appendages. Actinomorphic cyathium Zygomorphic cyathium Strongly zygomorphic cyathium.

Annual herb Perennial herb Succulent cushion-like plant. Tree-like plant Prostrate herb Candelabriform tree. Medusoid succulent herb Shrub with pencil-like branches Sphaeroid succulent plant. Other common names in Euphorbia Threre are many local names for particular species of Euphorbia.

About the genus Euphorbia.