|Scientific name Euphorbiaceae|
Higher classification Malpighiales
|Lower classifications Spurges, Poinsettia, Rushfoil, cassava, Nettlespurge|
Euphorbia cotinifolia caribbean copper plant leiteiro vermelho euphorbiaceae
The Euphorbiaceae, in common English sometimes called euphorbias, which is also the name of a genus in the family, is a large family, the spurge family, of flowering plants with about 300 genera and 7,500 species. Most spurges are herbs, but some, especially in the tropics, are shrubs or trees. Some are succulent and resemble cacti because of convergent evolution.
- Euphorbia cotinifolia caribbean copper plant leiteiro vermelho euphorbiaceae
- Euphorbia hirta l asthma plant erva de santa luzia euphorbiaceae
This family occurs mainly in the tropics, with the majority of the species in the Indo-Malayan region and tropical America a good second. A large variety occurs in tropical Africa, but they are not as abundant or varied as in the two other tropical regions. However, Euphorbia also has many species in nontropical areas such as the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East, South Africa, and the Southern United States.
The leaves are alternate, seldom opposite, with stipules. They are mainly simple, but where compound, are always palmate, never pinnate. Stipules may be reduced to hairs, glands, or spines, or in succulent species are sometimes absent.
The plants can be monoecious or dioecious. The radially symmetrical flowers are unisexual, with the male and female flowers usually on the same plant. As can be expected from such a large family,a wide variety exists in the structure of the flowers. The stamens (the male organs) number from one to 10 (or even more). The female flowers are hypogynous, that is, with superior ovaries.
The genera in tribe Euphorbieae, subtribe Euphorbiinae (Euphorbia and close relatives) show a highly specialized form of pseudanthium ("false flower" made up of several true flowers) called a cyathium. This is usually a small, cup-like involucre consisting of fused-together bracts and peripheral nectary glands, surrounding a ring of male flowers, each a single stamen. In the middle of the cyathium stands a female flower: a single pistil with branched stigmas. This whole arrangement resembles a single flower.
The fruit is usually a schizocarp, but sometimes a drupe. A typical schizocarp is the regma, a capsular fruit with three or more cells, each of which splits open at maturity into separate parts and then breaks away explosively, scattering the small seeds.
A milky latex is a characteristic of the Subfamilies Euphorbioideae and Crotonoideae. The latex is poisonous in the Euphorbioideae, but innocuous in the Crotonoideae. White mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha), or blind-your-eye mangrove latex causes blistering on contact and temporary blindness if it contacts the eyes. Other common names are milky mangrove, buta buta (Malay), and gewa (Bangladesh). The latex of spurge was used as a laxative.
Recent molecular studies have shown that the enigmatic family Rafflesiaceae, which was only recently recognized to belong to order Malpighiales, is derived from within the Euphorbiaceae.
Euphorbia hirta l asthma plant erva de santa luzia euphorbiaceae
The Euphorbiaceae family has about 7,500 species organised into 300 genera, 37 tribes, and three subfamilies
A number of plants of the spurge family are of considerable economic importance. Prominent plants include cassava (Manihot esculenta), castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), Barbados nut (Jatropha curcas), and the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Many are grown as ornamental plants, such as poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) and Chinese tallow (Triadica sebifera) are invasive weeds in North America. In medicine, some species of the Euphorbiaceae proved effective against genital herpes (HSV-2).
Some species, despite their medicinal benefits, are facing the risk of becoming extinct. These include the Euphorbia species E. appariciana, E. attastoma, E. crossadenia, and E. gymnoclada.