Euphorbia lactea

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Euphorbia lactea
E lactea ies.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. lactea
Binomial name
Euphorbia lactea

Euphorbia lactea (Mottled Spurge, Frilled Fan or Elkhorn) is a species of spurge native to tropical Asia, mainly in India.[1][2]

Euphorbia lactea in Kourou, French Guiana.

It is an erect shrub growing up to 5 m tall, with succulent branches 3–5 cm diameter, ridged, with a triangular or rhombic cross-section; the ridges are spiny, with short spines up to 5 mm long. The leaves are minute, and soon deciduous.[2] All parts of the plant contain a poisonous milky latex.[3]

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.[2][5] Other colloquial names include Candelabra spurge, Candelabrum tree, Candelabra cactus, Candelabra plant, Dragon bones, False cactus, Hatrack cactus, Milkstripe euphorbia, Mottled candlestick.


  1. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Euphorbia lactea
  2. ^ a b c Huxley, A, ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. ISBN 0-333-47494-5
  3. ^ Poisonous plants: Euphorbia lactea
  4. ^ Plant of the Euphorbia lactea
  5. ^ Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk: Euphorbia lactea