Spurge (Family Euphorbiaceae)

 

Euphorbiaceae, the Spurge Family, are a large family of flowering

plants with 300 genera and around 7,500 species. Most are herbs,

but some, especially in the tropics, are also shrubs or trees.

 

The Spurge Family occurs mainly in the tropics, with the majority

of the species in the Indo-Malayan region and tropical America.

However, there is a large variety in tropical Africa and many spe-

cies in non-tropical areas such as the Mediterranean Basin, the Mid-

dle East, South Africa, and southern United States.

 

A number of plants of the Spurge Family are of economic impor-

tance. 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). In

medicine, some species of Euphorbiaceae have proved effective

against genital herps.

 

 

Back to Inventory of Herb/Forb Families and Species

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