SCIENTIFIC NAME: Euphorbia
COMMON NAME(S): Spurges, Milk cacti
FAMILY: EUPHORBIACEAE - Spurge family
ORIGIN: Worldwide, about 2,000 spp.
HABITAT: Gardens, houseplants, some weeds
CHARACTERISTICS: Milky sap
LEAVES: Alternate, opposite or whorled
FLOWERS: Highly reduced and joined together in a specialized structure called a cyathium
FLOWERING SEASON: Variable
FRUITS: Capsule-like, splitting into 3, 1-seeded segments
ALLERGENIC PRINCIPLES: Unknown (resins and glycosides?)
ALLERGENIC PROPERTIES: Dermatological
COMMENTS: The milky sap of the over 2,000 species in the genus are all potentially a source of either irritant or allergenic dermatitis. Particularly common species are treated under separate listings.