Get complete information on Family Euphorbiaceae



Herbs, which may be erect, or prostate, shrubs and trees.



Tap root system.


Herbaceous to woody, erect or prostrate, cylindrical, branched & solid.



Generally alternate, sometimes opposite, rarely whorled, petiolate, sub-sessile, usually stiuplate, stipulses may be spiny in fleshy species of Euphorbia, occassionally exstipulate, simple with various shapes, margin of the leaf entire or serrate, unicostate, or multicostate reticulate venation.


Raceme, Dichasial cyme, cyathium in Euphorbia in this single female flower in surrounded by many male flowers enclosed in a cup like involucre of bracts, having nectaries to it. Each stamen represent a single male flower, because it has its own jointed stalk and possesses bract at its base.



Pedicellate or sessile, unisexual, male & female flowers situated on the same plant. In racemose, male flowers are situated above and female flower is below. In Cyathium many male flowers surrounded a single female flower, actinomorphic, hypogynous and incomplete.


Absent in Euphorbia, 5 in Ricinus communis, 4 sepaloid in Acalypha 6 in two whorls of 3 each in Phyllanthes. Aestivation valvate, when perianth is in one whorls, imbricate when in two whorls, sepals petalloid with valvate aestivation and corolla polypetalous with twisted aestivation in Jatropha.



Stamens one in Euphorbia, 3 in Phyllanthes 6 to 8 polyandrous in Acalypha, 5 branched in Ricinus, 10 monadelphous in Jatropha and many polyandrous in Croton.


Tricarpellary, syncarpous, ovary superior, tri or hexalocular, axile placentation with one or two ovules in each locule, styles three stigma three or six.



Capsule or regma in Euphorbia, regma in Ricinus, berry in Bischofia, drupe in Bridelia and Putranjiva. Berry or drupe in Phyllanthus and Acalypha.


By insects generally, also anemophyllous as in Mercurialis & Ricinus.

Economic Importance


Herbs, shrubs or small trees with white latex, E. hirta and E. prostrata are common weeds. E. royleana is cultivated to make good hedge plant. It is cactus like herb. E. splendens is an ornamental pot plant. E. triucalli is a leafless ornamental shrub or a small tree.

Breynia forms good hedge and is medicinally useful.

Emblica officinalis (Amla) is an important tree, cultivated for its fruits, which are eaten either as pickle or in the form of jam. It is also medicinally important.

Putranjiva roxburghii is an evergreen ornamental tree.

Ricinus communis:

The cast or plant is cultivated because the seeds yield commercially important oil, the castor oil. Besides many uses of this oil it is also medicinally important.

Hevea brasiliensis:

The Indian rubber plant is a 60 to 100 feet long tree. The rubber is obtained by tapping the bank and coagulating the latex, later on it is pressed and dried.

Systemic Position:






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