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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 450. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library
 

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
Contributor Text: A. RADCLIFFE-SMITH
General/Distribution: One of the six largest genera of flowering plants (the others being Astragalus, Carex, Piper, Senecio and Solanum), having some 2000 species. It is ± cosmopolitan, but chiefly restricted to tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions.

 

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Monoecious herbs, shrubs or trees, often succulent, with milky latex and with a simple indumentum, when present. Leaves often of 3 types, lower, median and upper; lower or stem-leaves usually alternate, median or pseudumbel-leaves whorled, upper or ray-leaves whorled or opposite, free or connate; all or most leaves usually sessile, rarely shortly petiolate, stipulate or not, simple, entire or toothed, penni- or palminerved. Stipules, when present, minute and subulate, interpetiolar and chaffy, glandular and sessile, or spiny. Inflorescence a cyathium, with 1 ♀ flower and several bracteate ♂ flowers enclosed in a gland. bearing involucre; cyathia axillary or arranged pseudodichasially, often in a ‘pseudumbel’' of radiating ‘dichasia’. Involucre usually 5-lobed, with 1-5 glands alternating with them. Male flowers each consisting of a single stamen borne directly on its own pedicel; anther-cells subglobose, longitudinally dehiscent. Female flower consisting of a trilocular ovary on a pedicel which usually elongates in fruit; ovules 1 per cell; styles 3, free or connate at the base, stigmas often bifid. Fruits 3-celled, dehiscent into bivalved cocci; endocarp woody or cartilaginous. Seeds often carunculate; testa thin, crustaceous, smooth, ornamented or sculptured; albumen thick; embryo straight; cotyledons broad, flat.
 

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1 Plants succulent (2)
+ Plants woody or herbaceous (7)
2 (1) Stems spiny (3)
+ Stems unarmed 21 Euphorbia tirucalli
3 (2) Spines paired on each spine-shield; cyathophylls not prominent, usually scarious (4)
+ Spines arising from separate tubercles; cyathophylls prominent, red or yellow 16 Euphorbia milii
4 (3) A densely-branched shrub, not forming a trunk 18 Euphorbia caducifolia
+ Trees, forming trunks (5)
5 (4) Stems angled (6)
+ Stems Wrote 17 Euphorbia nivulia
6 (5) Angles not produced into wings 19 Euphorbia neriifolia
+ Angles produced into undulate wings 20 Euphorbia royleana
7 (1) Stipules present, sometimes much-reduced (8)
+ Stipules absent (22)
8 (7) Leaves all opposite, asymmetrical at the base; stipules scarious, persistent; glands usually appendiculate (9)
+ Leaves mostly opposite or else alternate, whorled and opposite, symmetrical at the base; stipules subulate, persistent or fugacious, or sessile and glandular; glands usually exappendiculate (17)
9 (8) Cyathia aggregated together into clusters (10)
+ Cyathia axillary, solitary, often borne on pecialized lateral shoots (12)
10 (9) Leaves oblong; hairs mostly unicellular, white; cyathia in loose clusters terminating lateral shoots (11)
+ Leaves rhombic; hairs multicellular, yellow; cyathia in dense, axillary, pedunculate clusters 1 Euphorbia hirta
11 (10) Plants glabrous 3 Euphorbia hypericifolia
+ Plants puberulous or pubescent 2 Euphorbia indica
12 (9) Plant glabrous, puberulous, pubescent or hispid, not rooting at the nodes; stipules all free, or only the pairs beneath fused into a scale (13)
+ Plant completely glabrous, rooting at the nodes; stipules fused to form a triangular scale above and beneath 4 Euphorbia serpens
13 (12) Leaves minutely denticulate, serrulate, or serrate (14)
+ Leaves entire or almost so 5 Euphorbia granulata
14 (13) Glands with prominent white appendages 7 Euphorbia hispida
+ Gland-appendages minute or absent (15)
15 (14) Plant completely glabrous; leaf-blades narrowly falcate-oblong 6 Euphorbia clarkeana
+ Plant puberulous or pubescent above, glabrous beneath; leaf-blades obovate-suborbicular or ovate-oblong (16)
16 (15) Fruits glabrous except on the keels; seeds sharply transversely-ridged 8 Euphorbia prostrata
+ Fruits adpressed-pubescent; seeds shallowly transversely-ridged 9 Euphorbia thymifolia
17 (8) Uppermost leaves of the pseudumbel red, green or yellow; stipules persistent (18)
+ Uppermost leaves of the pseudumbel with conspicuous white margins; stipules fugacious 10 Euphorbia marginata
18 (17) Cyathia usually with 4-5 pectinate glands; stipules subulate, eglandular (19)
+ Cyathia with only 1 cupular, circular or saccate gland, or rarely glands 2-3; stipules sessile, glandular (20)
19 (18) Leaves linear to ovate; stipules 1 mm long 11 Euphorbia cheirolepis
+ Leaves all ovate or elliptic-ovate; stipules 0.25 mm long 12 Euphorbia petiolata
20 (18) At least the lower leaves panduriform (21)
+ Leaves elliptic-obovate, elliptic-lanceolate or lanceolate 13 Euphorbia heterophylla
21 (20) Upper leaves uniformly bright scarlet 15 Euphorbia pulcherrima
+ Upper leaves green with a basal red blotch 14 Euphorbia cyathophora
22 (7) Leaves opposite or whorled, rarely any alternate; annuals (23)
+ Leaves alternate, whorled and opposite, or, if any stem-leaves opposite, then decussate; annuals, biennials or perennials (26)
23 (22) Caruncle stipitate, the stalk 0.3-0.5 mm long (24)
+ Caruncle sessile or subsessile (25)
24 (23) Leaves linear-lanceolate, more than 2 mm wide; glands cornute 23 Euphorbia sororia
+ Leaves linear, less than 2 mm wide; glands ecornute 22 Euphorbia inderiensis
25 (23) Leaves ovate to linear-lanceolate; glands ecornute 24 Euphorbia aserbajdzhanica
+ Leaves spathulate to suborbicular; glands cornute 25 Euphorbia densa
26 (22) Pseudumbels usually borne on short lateral beanches 26 Euphorbia osyridea
+ Pseudumbels usually terminal (27)
27 (26) Leaves commonly coarsely and irregularly sharply denticulate (28)
+ Leaves entire, subentire or minutely and regularly serrulate or denticulate (31)
28 (27) Perennial herbs (29)
+ Annual herb 29 Euphorbia grossheimii
29 (28) Stem-leaves up to 7 cm long; glands ochreous (30)
+ Stem-leaves not more than 3 cm long; glands madder, maroon or black 30 Euphorbia tibetica
30 (29) Stem-leaves oblong-lanceolate to orbicular-ovate; fruits 4.5 x 4.5 mm 28 Euphorbia multifurcata
+ Stem-leaves linear to oblong-lanceolate; fruits 6 x 5 mm 27 Euphorbia caeladenia
31 (27) Glands rounded on the outer edge (32)
+ Glands truncate, crescentic or 2-(rarely more-) horned (38)
32 (31) Fruit warty (33)
+ Fruit smooth (35)
33 (32) Plant 10-20 cm tall; pseudumbel 3-5-rayed 33 Euphorbia micractina
+ Plant 40-100 cm tall; pseudumbel 5-15-rayed (34)
34 (33) Leaves entire; fruits sparingly warty 32 Euphorbia cognata
+ Leaves subentire or serrulate; fruits densely covered with conical warts 31 Euphorbia cornigera
35 (32) Perennial herbs (36)
+ Annual herb 37 Euphorbia helioscopia
36 (35) Fruit 5.5-8 mm diam (37)
+ Fruit 3-4 mm diam 36 Euphorbia jacquemontii
37 (36) Stem-leaves elliptic-ovate or elliptic, 1-5 cm long 34 Euphorbia thomsoniana
+ Stem-leaves ovate-lanceolate or elliptic-lanceolate, 4-11 cm long 35 Euphorbia wallichii
38 (31) Annual herbs (39)
+ Biennial or perennial herbs (42)
39 (38) Leaves variable, the upper differing from the stem-leaves (40)
+ All leaves linear to linear-lanceolate 38 Euphorbia dracunculoides
40 (39) Stem-leaves sessile; fruits with rounded keels (41)
+ Stem-leaves petiolate; fruits 2-ridged on the keels 41 Euphorbia peplus
41 (40) Ray-leaves cuspidate-aristate 39 Euphorbia falcata
+ Ray-leaves obtuse or rounded 40 Euphorbia maddenii
42 (38) Stem-leaves alternate; fruit hardened (43)
+ Stem-leaves opposite, decussate; fruit spongy 52 Euphorbia lathyris
43 (42) Glands truncate or crescentic, usually 2-horned (44)
+ Glands truncate, hornless 51 Euphorbia seguieriana
44 (43) Plants decumbent- or procumbent ascending (45)
+ Plants erect, rarely ascending (46)
45 (44) Seeds compressed-ovoid; Baluchistan 43 Euphorbia aucheri
+ Seeds ovoid-hexagonal; NWFP & Kashmir 42 Euphorbia kanaorica
46 (44) Upper leaves differing from the stem-leaves (47)
+ All leaves linear-lanceolate; seeds tuberculate-rugulose 38 Euphorbia dracunculoides
47 (46) Pseudumbel-rays not proliferating (48)
+ Pseudumbel-rays often proliferating as densely-leafy shoots 45 Euphorbia prolifera
48 (47) Stem-leaves usually obovate or oblanceolate (49)
+ Stem-leaves usually linear or lanceolate (50)
49 (48) Pseudumbel-rays commonly 4-5 times bifid; NWFP, N. Punjab & Kashmir 40 Euphorbia maddenii
+ Pseudumbel-rays rarely more than once or twice bifid; Baluchistan 44 Euphorbia microsciadia
50 (48) Plant 30-140 cm tall (51)
+ Plant not exceeding 25 cm in height; ray leaves usually trullate 46 Euphorbia talaina
51 (50) Stem-leaves usually linear; ray-leaves transversely elliptic to suborbicular; glands crescentic
+ Stem-leaves lanceolate; ray-leaves ovate-deltoid; glands truncate, 2-horned 47 Euphorbia thyrsoidea
52 Stem-leaves not more than 8 mm wide (53)
+ Stem-leaves more than 1 cm wide 48 Euphorbia boissieriana
53 (52) Stem-leaves up to 8 mm wide 49 Euphorbia cyrtophylla
+ Stem-leaves not more than 4 mm wide 50 Euphorbia pamirica
 

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