Euphorbia gottlebei Rauh (Cultivated)
Euphorbia procumbens Mill. (Cultivated)
Revised identification key for woody species of Euphorbia: by Dr. Gurcharan Singh
Stems unarmed; without stipular spines
All leaves of same colour
Leaves longer than 8 cm, green…….E. umbellata
Leaves up to 8 cm long
Stem and leaves uniformly red, leaves in whorls of three, petiole almost as
long as blade, leaves ovate, apex acute to obtuse……E. cotinifolia subsp. cotinoides
Stem and leaves green, leaves alternate, petiole much shorter than blade
Leaves shorter than 2 cm, less than 2 mm broad, branches straight, mostly leafless
(leaves early deciduous)
Branches flattened……….E. xylophylloides
Branches not flattened……….E. tirucalli
Leaves longer than 3 cm, more than 2 cm broad, branches zigzag, mostly with leaves…… E. tithymaloides
All leaves not of same colour; lower leaves green, upper partly or uniformally coloured; leaves longer than 8 cm
Leaves below the inflorescence uniformally coloured (red, white or yellow); leaves not lobed.E. pulcherrima
Leaves below the inflorescence coloured only at base; leaves lobed or not
Base of upper leaves pale green or pale white; leaves lobed or not……….E. heterophylla
Base of upper leaves red; leaves lobed………E. cyathophora
Stems armed with spines
Branches spine-tipped………E. stenoclada
Branches not spine-tipped
Spines borne singly on stem or wings
Spines on stem , not flattened, usually longer than 1 cm; two showy bracts around cyathium……..E. milii
Spines on wings, somewhat flattened, showy bracts absent
Leaf scars semilunar with distinct gap from wings, sparsely distributed, peduncle longer,
spines often projecting and longer than 1 cm………E. viguieri
Leaf scars transversely oblong, almost touching wings, closely placed, peduncle shorter.
spines mostly shorter than 1 cm……….E. neohumbertii
Spines borne on raised shield, usually shorter than 1 cm, two showy bracts lacking
Stem rounded, not angled or winged
Shrub without trunk with branches arising from base, smaller leaves (3-8 cm long)
and longer spines 0.5-1 cm………….E caducifolia
Tree with distinct trunk, leaves 10-25 cm long, spines shorter than 0.5 cm……….E. nivulia
Stem angled or winged
Angles not produced into wing, spirally arranged:……..E. neriifolia
Angles produced into wings
The wings running straight, sinuate, regularly dentate
Trees taller than 4 m; stems usually 4-angled; spines absent or minute…….E. ingens
Shrubs or small trees less than 4 m tall, usually 3-angled; spines longer than 4 mm
Stems green without white bands
Leaves usually clustered, rarely seen; spines black………E. antiquorum
Leaves spaced, mostly present; spines grey-brown ……….E. trigona
Stems white wholly or partially
The stems with white bands on faces
Branches ascending, parallel to and close to the main stem
leaves obovate-elliptic, 10-30 mm long……..E. trigona.
Branches ascending but not parallel to and close to the main
stem. Leaves scale-like, c. 4 mm long.
Apex of stem not cristate (without crowns at tips)………..E. lactea
Apex of stem cristate (with crowns at tips)….E lactea cv. ‘Cristata’
The stems uniformly greyish white………………..E. lactea cv. ‘White Ghost’
The wings running spirally, …………E. tortilis
Wings 5-6, undulate………..E. royleana
Key in Bracketed Format
Revised identification key for woody species of “Euphorbia: by Dr. N. Balakrishnan
1a. Stems unarmed, without stipular spines 2
b. Stems armed with spines 9
2a. All leaves not of the same colour; lower leaves green, upper partly or uniformly coloured 3
b. All leaves all of the same colour 5
3a. Leaves below the inflorescences red, yellow, cream-coloured or white; leaves not lobed E. pulcherrima
b. Leaves below the inflorescences coloured only at base; leaves lobed or not 4
4a. Bases of upper leaves red; leaves lobed E. cyathophora
b. Bases of upper leaves pale green or pale white; leaves lobed or not E. heterophylla
5a. Leaves more than 8 cm long E. umbellata
b. Leaves less than 8 cm long 6
6a. Stem and leaves uniformly purplish red when young to greenish pink when mature; leaves in whorls of three, petiole almost as
b. Stem and leaves always green; leaves alternate; petioles much shorter than leaf-blade 7
7a. Leaves longer than 3 cm, more than 2 cm broad; branches zigzag, usually with leaves E. tithymaloides
b. Leaves shorter than 2 cm, less than 7 mm broad, early caducous; branches straight, usually leafless 8
8a. Branches flattened E. xylophylloides
b. Branches cylindrical E. tirucalli
9a. Branches spine-tipped E. stenoclada
b. Branches not spine-tipped 10
10a. Spines borne singly on stem or wings 11
b. Spines borne on raised shield, usually shorter than 1 cm 13
11a. Spines on stem not flattened, showy bracts present below cyathia E. milii
b. Spines on wings of branches somewhat flattened, showy bracts absent 12
12a. Leaf-scars semilunar, with distinct gap from wing-margins, sparsely distributed; peduncle longer; spines often projecting
b. Leaf-scars transversely oblong, extending from one wing-margin to the other, closely placed; peduncles shorter, spines mostly shorter than 1 cm E. neohumbertii
13a. Stem rounded, not angled or winged 14
b.. Stem angled or winged 15
14a. Shrubs without trunk; branchlets arising from base; leaves small, 3 – 8 cm long; spines long, 0.5 – 1 cm long E.caducifolia
b. Trees with distinct trunk; leaves large, 10 – 25 cm long; spines short, up to 5 mm long E. nivulia
15a. Angles not produced into wings, spirally arranged E. neriifolia
b. Angles produced into wings 16
16a. Wings of branches 5 – 6, undulate E. royleana
b. Wings of branches 3 – 4 17
17a. Wings of branches running spirally E. tortilis
b. Wings of branches running straight, sinuate, regularly dentate 18
18a Trees taller than 4 m; stems usually 4-angled; spines absent or minute E. ingens
b. Shrubs or small trees less than 4 m tall, usually 3-angled; spines longer than 4 mm 19
19a. Branches green, without white bands 20
b. Branches white, wholly or partially 21
20a. Leaves usually clustered, rarely seen; spines black E.antiquorum
b. Leaves spaced, usually present; spines grey-brown E. trigona
21a. Branches uniformly greyish white E. lactea cv. White Ghost
b. Branches not uniformly greyish white, but with patches of white bands in valleys between wings 22
22a. Branches ascending, parallel to and close to the main stem; leaves obovate-elliptic, 10 – 30 mm long E.trigona
b. Branches ascending but not parallel to and close to the main stem; leaves scale-like, ca 4 mm long 23
23a. Apex of stem not cristate (without crowns at tips) E.lactea
b. Apex of stem cristate (with crowns of tips E. lactea cv. Cristata
Euphorbiaceae Fortnight: An updated key to Woody species of Euphorbia in India : 1 post by 1 author.
A key to the identification of woody species of Euphorbia occurring in India and introduced species in Gardens was prepared by me in 2011 and underwent alot of discussion in which …, … and others participated actively
The discovery of several more species in two years made it necessary to further revise the key. This has been uploaded on our website in indented key format.
Dr. N. Balakrishnan has been kind enough to revise and set the key in bracketed key format. Both versions are available on our website. Members can make use of the format which suits them.
Species as per Flora of India Vol 23 (Editors N. P. Balakrishnan, T. Chakrabarty, M. Sanjappa, P. Lakshminarsimhan & P. Singh- by Botanical Survey of India (2012)):
Euphorbia agowensis Hochst ex Boiss.
var. agowensis 301
var. pseudoholstii (Pax) Bally & S.Carter
Euphorbia antiquorum L.
Euphorbia balakrishnanii Binojk. & R.Gopalan
Euphorbia boissieriana (Woronow) Prokh.
Euphorbia caducifolia Haines
Euphorbia cashmeriana Royle
Euphorbia cattimandoo Elliot ex Wight
Euphorbia clarkeana Hook.f.
Euphorbia coccinea B.Heyne ex Roth
Euphorbia concanensis Janarth. & S.R.Yadav 281agowensis Hochst ex Boiss.
Euphorbia cornigera Boiss.
var. cognata (Klotzsch ex Klotzsch & Garcke) Binojk. & N.P.Balakr.
Euphorbia corrigioloides Boiss.
Euphorbia cotinifolia L. ssp. cotinoides (Miq.) Christenh.
Euphorbia cristata B.Heyne ex Roth
Euphorbia cyathophora J.Murr.
Euphorbia deccanensis V.S.Raju
var. nallamalayana (J.L.Ellis) V.S.Raju
Euphorbia donii Oudejans
Euphorbia dracunculoides Lam.
Euphorbia elegans Spreng.
Euphorbia epiphylloides Kurz
Euphorbia erythroclada Boiss.
Euphorbia falcata L.
Euphorbia fulgens Karw. ex Klotzsch (Cultivated)
Euphorbia fusiformis Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don
var. fusiformis 332
var. khandallensis (Blatt. & Hallb.) Binojk. & N.P.Balakr.
Euphorbia grandicornis Goebel ex N.E.Br. (Cultivated)
Euphorbia granulata Forssk.
Euphorbia helioscopia L.
Euphorbia heterophylla L.
Euphorbia heyneana Spreng.
ssp. nilagirica (Miq.) Panigrahi
Euphorbia hirta L.
Euphorbia hispida Boiss.
Euphorbia hypericifolia L.
Euphorbia hyssopifolia L.
Euphorbia indica Lam.
Euphorbia jacquemontii Boiss.
Euphorbia jodhpurensis Blatt. & Hallb.
Euphorbia kanaorica Boiss.
Euphorbia katrajensis Gage
Euphorbia khasyana Boiss.
Euphorbia lacei Craib
Euphorbia laciniata Panigrahi
Euphorbia lactea Haw.
Euphorbia lathyris L.
Euphorbia lawsonii Binojk. & Dwarakan
Euphorbia leucocephala Lotsy
Euphorbia longistyla Boiss.
Euphorbia luteoviridis D.G.Long
Euphorbia maddenii Boiss.
Euphorbia marginata Pursh (Cultivated)
Euphorbia mauritanica L.
Euphorbia meenae S.Carter
Euphorbia micractina Boiss.
Euphorbia milii Des Moul.
Euphorbia nana Royle
Euphorbia neriifolia L.
Euphorbia nivulia Buch.-Ham.
Euphorbia notoptera Boiss.
Euphorbia osyridea Boiss.
Euphorbia pallens Dillwyn
Euphorbia pamirica (Prokh.) Prokh.
Euphorbia peltata Roxb.
Euphorbia peplus L.
Euphorbia perbracteata Gage
Euphorbia prolifera Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don
Euphorbia prostrata Aiton
Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch
Euphorbia pycnostegia Boiss.
var. zornioides (Boiss.) Santapau
Euphorbia rosea Retz.
Euphorbia rothiana Spreng.
Euphorbia royleana Boiss.
Euphorbia santapaui A.N.Henry
Euphorbia sebastinei Binojk. & N.P.Balakr.
Euphorbia senguptae N.P.Balakr. & Subr.
Euphorbia serpens Kunth
Euphorbia sharmae U.C.Bhattach.
Euphorbia sikkimensis Boiss.
Euphorbia stracheyi Boiss.
Euphorbia susan-holmesiae Binojk. & R.Gopalan
Euphorbia thomsoniana Boiss.
Euphorbia thymifolia L.
Euphorbia thyrsoidea Boiss.
Euphorbia tibetica Boiss.
Euphorbia tirucalli L.
Euphorbia tortilis Rottler ex Ainslie
Euphorbia trigona Mill.
Euphorbia vajravelui Binojk. & N.P.Balakr.
Euphorbia wallichii Hook.f.
Species with description & pictures in Flowers of India as on 22.4.14:
Euphorbia griffithii (Not mentioned in Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia parviflora (Euphorbia indica Lam. Syn: E. parviflora auct. non L. 1759: Roxb. as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia pseudo-sikkimens (Not mentioned in Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia pseudosikkimensis (Not mentioned in Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia atoto ( ? Euphorbia pallens Dillwyn syn: E. articulata Dennst.; E. atoto auct. non G. Forst., 1786: Hook.f.; E. halophila Miq.; Chamaesyce pallens (Dillwyn) V.S.Raju as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia bifida (Not mentioned in Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia griffithii (Not mentioned in Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013)).
Euphorbia floral morphology Diagram: Attaching a genral Euphorbia sp. floral morphology diagram from the classic book of Botany By D. H. Lawrence. We have had a very rich contribution of the various species of Euphorbia and this thought would add to the understanding. Besides we have already had the simple keys developed and under further construction?! by … yesterday.
A revision of geophytic Euphorbia species from India – International … (pdf) by Soumen Aditya- Euphorbia World Vol. 6 n. 1 – April 2010
(With Keys of
Euphorbia chamaesyce L. (? Euphorbia prostrata Aiton syn: E. chamaesyce auct. non L. 1753 as per Flora of India Vol. 23)
Euphorbia heyneana Spreng. as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013).
Euphorbia hypericifolia L. as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013).
Euphorbia antiquorum and its Allies – FGaS by Meena Singh (Comparision of
Euphorbia santapaui A.N.Henry,
Euphorbia susan-holmesiae Binojk. & Gopalan
I have updated eFI (efloraofindia) page on Euphorbia in line with Flora of India Vol. 23 (2012).
Species discussed so far in efloraofindia are given at the bottom of the page in the form of links against Subpages. On clicking them one can see all the details. Any comments are welcome.
A great job done which will serve our nation and our purpose.
An Excursion Flora of Central Tamilnadu, India By K. M. Matthew (1995)- Details with keys–
Euphorbia corrigioloides Boiss.
Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic, and Other … edited by C.P. Khare (2004)- Details-
Flora of Guntur District, Andhra Pradesh, India (2000)- Details with keys-
Flora of Ranga Reddi District Andhra Pradesh, India By T. Pullaiah, M. Silar Mohammed (2000)- Details with keys-
Encyclopaedia of world medicinal plants, Volume 1 By T. Pullaiah (2006)- Details-
Euphorbia chamaesyce L. (? Euphorbia prostrata Aiton syn: E. chamaesyce auct. non L. 1753 as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013))
Euphorbia pilosa L. (? Euphorbia cornigera Boiss. syn: E. pilosa L. var. cornigera (Boiss.) Hook.f.; E. pilosa auct. non L. as per Flora of India Vol. 23 (2013))
Flora of Medak District, Andhra Pradesh, India By T. Pullaiah, Chintala Prabhakar, B. Ravi Prasad Rao (1998)- Details with keys-
1997 IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants edited by Kerry Scott Walter, Harriet J. Gillett
Euphorbia : 1 post by 1 author.
I have updated eFI (efloraofindia) page on Euphorbia
Attempts have been made to incorporate most of the species available in India & nearby areas with details & keys directly or through links as far as possible. It’s quite possible that there may be some discrepancy in the accepted names & synonyms taken from other links.
Species discussed so far in efloraofindia are given at the bottom of the page in the form of links against Subpages. On clicking them one can see all the details.
Any comments/ corrections are welcome.
Thanks to Dr. N. P. Balakrishnan & Dr. Tapas Chakrabarty for the wonderful work on Euphorbiaceae.
Re: completed insertion of images of identified species of Euphorbia : 1 post by 1 author.
Some species were done by other members
Euphorbia page (Euphorbiaceae) with images of species in efloraofindia : 6 posts by 2 authors.
If you find any mis-identification, pl. let us know.
If anybody can send images of other species of this genera (for incorporation in the website), it will be really nice. Also, if anybody is interested to take up the activity of inserting images on efloraofindia pages from efloraofindia posts, pl. let us know.