Comparative images of all genera except for Acalypha, Croton, Euphorbia, Jatropha, Macaranga & Mallotus are given below:


image by Dr. Tapas Chakraborty

image by Dr. Tapas Chakrabarty


Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Rumph. ex A.Juss.                                                                                             




Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Rumph. ex A.Juss. (Images by Bhagyashri Ranade (Validation by Tanay Bose))





Manihot carthaginensis subsp. glaziovii (Müll.Arg.) Allem (Cultivated) (Images by Raman Arunachalam, (For more photos & complete details, click on the links))



Manihot esculenta Crantz (Cultivated)





(Images by Raman Arunachalam & TSP Kumar (For more photos & complete details, click on the links), (inserted by Bhagyashri Ranade))



Some references on Euphorbiaceae Juss. : 4 posts by 1 author.
Just sharing some references on systematics of Euphorbiceans and allied groups in four consecutive mails as I am unable to attach the pdf in one. This may be of your use
Unable to attach one more, seems too big for the post.

I am sure most of the members have read the nicely written details about the family Euphorbiaceae by ..[efloraofindia:64293]
I would like to highlight some important characters of this family.
It is a Large and extremely variable family : It shows a great range in vegetative as well as floral structures.
The inflorescence in Euphorbia and related genera like Chamaesyce is
………….first branching usually racemose.
………….subsequent branching is cymose.
………………The partial inflorescence is a Cyathium which appears as a single flower. (Seen in … write up.)
(I urge members to post some additional close ups of this; if they have any)
………….The male flower is represented by just an androecium having only pedicel stamen and anthers. While the female flower has only pedicel ovary style and stigma.
I have compiled this info. and sharing with the group esp. for those non botanist members who may not be knowing this; as the conventional visible flowers are not seen in some of the genara from Euphorbiaceae when one is searching flowers in nature.


Euphorbiaceae week :  17 posts by 5 authors.

As most of you are aware, this month for a week starting Monday 7 March 2011 upto Sunday 13 March 2011 the family of focus on the group is Euphorbiaceae. It is a very important, large, interesting and fascinating family!
We have had very high standards of coordinating these family weeks starting with … Being a non-botanist I shall try to provide coordination to this episode to the best possible extent, within the constraints of time and my other commitments.
I shall also like to appeal to the many distinguished members who have joined recently and also who are present since a long time to participate and enrich this forum with their interactions and inputs. There are many new developments in the field which only experts can enlighten us on. Hoping for another great learning and enriching week on efloraofindia, here’s my first very short write-up and pictures on Euphorbiaceae.

From the several postings we have had on the family in the past years, 28 genus or so, the follwing have now been transferred to the Phyllanthaceae family as per Kew Plant LIst : Actephila, Antidesma, Aporosa, Baccaurea, Bridelia, Cleistanthus, Glochidion,, Phyllanthus, Sauropus, Securinega. These aspects will need more discussions, inputs.

Euphorbiaceae- The Spurge Family 

This  is a very large family and widely distributed world-wide .

General characteristics:
Mostly shrubs or trees but also some herbaceous species are found in this family. Latex is often present. Many of the species grow in dry regions- cactus like in habit., or with branches taking on the form and function of leaves (cladodes) . Leaves are usually simple, alternate. Stipules usually present, sometimes in the form of hairs, glands, or thorns. Inflorescence usually complex and varied. Flowers usually regular, unisexual, the male and female either on the same plants (monoecious) or different plants (dioecious). Sepals usually 5, free, sometimesabsent. Petals 5, free, often absent. Stamens 1 to many, free orunited. Ovary superior, usually  of 3 united carpels, 3-locular. Styles 3, usually 2-lobed.Ovules 1 or 2 in each loculus, pendulous, anatropous; placentation axile. Fruit sometimes a drupe, but more commonly a capsule, which splits into 3 carpels; at the same time each carpel opens along its ventral surface to let the seed escape. Seeds usually with abundant oily endosperm; caruncle is present in some genera.(Ref: Hickey & King: 1997).

Plants with milky latex.

Leaves simple, entire or lobed, stipulate.

Flowers small, unisexual with petaloid bracts.
Cymose or cyathium inflorescence.
Stamens 1-µ,  ovary superior, 3- celled, styles 3.

Ovules 1-2 raphe vetural, axil placenta. (Ref: Sutaria, 1969).

The fascinating flower inflorescence and the widespread prevalence of this family makes this one of the most important angiosperms. I shall dwell a little  more on this aspect. In the  true spurges (Euphorbia), the female flower is elevated on a stalk called gynophore and is surrounded by several male flowers that each consist of little more than an anther (Ref :Stern: Plant Biology).

Both the female and male flowers are inserted on a cup composed of fused bracts, the cup usually having distinctive glands on the rim. This type of inflorescence  is called Cyathium.The following are the examples seen in Christmas flowers and a diagram illustrating the cyathium.


As per the new Kew Plant List  and the one efloraofindia has decided to by and large follow the following is some data of Euphorbiaceae: The website states and I quote “Species of Euphorbiaceae contained within The Plant List belong to 229 plant genera. The Plant list includes 16,849 scientific plant names of species rank for the family Euphorbiaceae, of these 6,511 are accepted species names. The Plant List includes a further 4,394 scientific plant names of infraspecific rank for the family Euphorbiaceae. We do not intend The Plant List to be complete for names of infraspecific rank. These are primarily included because names of species rank are synonym of accepted infraspecific

In our database we have included several genus in Euphorbiaceae which now come under the family Phyllanthaceae as per Kew Plant List. These are as follows: Actephila, Andidesma, Aporosa, Baccaurea, Bridelia, Cleistanthus, Glochidion,Phyllanthus, Sauropus, Securinega.

Yes …, a nice write u
I suggest that we also encourage the upload of genera of Phyllanthaceae, because otherwise it may not be possible to have a separate episode for Phyllanthaceae.

Yes Sir let us include genera Phyllanthaceae. So that includes all the genera specified in the Kew Plant list which otherwise we have included in Euphorbiaceae in our database. We need to mention EuphorbiaceaePhyllanthaceae +(Genus + species name of the plant being uploaded) in the subject line. Hope this is fine.

After years of field work I am able to place plants (by observing and remembering obvious similarities between them) into just a few families. The dichotomous keys for families are available in floras but they can not be recollected and applied to so many families in the field. If a simple key based on field characters (not on dissected parts) is made which may lead to a single or a few families, that can be very useful for a non-botanist like me in placing a plant in a (single or a few) family for easy ID of species. We can begin by
making a short list of leading families based on the number of species occuring in India. The list can be of 24 to 36 families to last for 2-3 years’ period. The brief features of these select leading families can be tabulated and posted with each family. The sequence of families can be as per the current system of classification. For every family, before posting the plants an introduction to the family may be posted so that members can look for those features appearing in plants being posted. This can help to eradicate the apprehension about taxonomy and will make the event interesting.

For example (Pls ignore the incorrectness if any) the following information (highlighted in the table) so that the current family can be compared with other families.

FAMILY Euphorbiaceae
LEADING GENERA Euphorbia, Phyllanthus, Croton, Acalypha, Jatropha
COMPOSITION 300 genera, 5,000 species of herbs, shrubs and trees in the world and .. genera, ..species in India
CLASSIFICATION Seeds containing 2 cotyledons, perianth 1-2 seriate inunisexual flowers and absent in bisexual flowers, ovary superior, morethan 1 celled, inflorescence of a cyathium.
DIGNOSTIC FEATURES Leaves usually alternate, stipulate; plants with milky latex; flowers usually unisexual on same or different plants,
I have been trying to update myself (thogh not yet familiar) on ‘How to ID a family’ for a long time which I think is an intrinsic feature of field botany. I am sure we have experts to generate better ideas on this subject.

There have been request that I also send a copy in doc. format. Here it is. Sorry to all who could not open the docx format !

Thank you … for your inputs and ideas on developing keys which can be easily used in the field. I hope more suggestions come forward for the same and perhaps lead to the necessary keys ! I have a small booklet developed by Dr. Milind Sardesai and Dr Yadav titled ‘Keys to the Families of flowering plants of Maharashtra.’ A small booklet which can be carried around . Perhaps some of the aspects fits your thoughts.

Yes …, it can be done by individual efforts. Some time back I had prepared and posted a similar simple key for Species of Solanum. (Small steps towards eFlora of India). This idea of your can be slowly developed and imlemented.

Would like to share my thoughts further – I have always felt this strong urge to be able to place plants seen in the field into families. After going for some Botany trips am now able to identify some plants commonly seen and place them in thier families. But I feel that one has to master about 10 , 15 ,20 families initially, concentrate on them and their keys . Interesting bit is many times one does not know any keys but yet identifies correctly by ones own key or identification clue. These are the aspects, unique indentification markers one uses, of some selected families that could lead to some simplified set of keys as per Shrikant ji ‘s suggestion.

I have the booklet that you referred to. It is small enough to carry but the key branches are too long to follow from page to page, the number of families are too many to remember and the keys are often based on disseccted parts seen under microscope. This is yet the most useful key but can be used for herbarium specimens in a laboratory. We need to reduce number of families and have keys relating to field characters.

Yes … Toatally agree with the drawbacks with regards to the keys under discussion and need to have keys relating to field characters.. Infact when I met Dr. Sardesai at Aurangabad he had mentioned that more and more feedback is needed by those who use it and suggestions, critical evaluation, since they are working on bringing out the final keys book. Perhaps Dr. Sardesai can enlighten us further on this .
We need to reduce the families to perhaps 30 or so and incorporate all our unique field markers, characters that we identify with, collate these together perhaps to evolve something more practical.

Lot of inf. is already available at efi page:  Euphorbiaceae
Following 36 genera are already discussed (Clicking on any of them will lead to various species already discussed under them) as below: ……………………

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