T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Euphorbia characias (Euphorbia "Kea")

Kingdom: Plantae
(Unranked): Angiosperms
(Unranked): Eudicots
(Unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. characias
Binomial name: Euphorbia characias
Common name: Euphorbia "Kea"

Warning: The milky sap or latex of Euphorbia plant is highly toxic and an irritant to the skin and eye. It the multitude of di- and triterpenes. People who handle Euphorbia plants should wear eye and skin protection. Invisible vapours of the sap can cause discomfort, you should provide for adequate aeration.
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html

Euphorbia characias, the Mediterranean Spurge, is a flowering annual or perennial herb of the Euphorbiaceae family typical of the Mediterranean vegetation. There are two main subspecies that are found in different regions of the Mediterranean Basin. These often overlap in the western areas of distribution: Euphorbia characias subsp. characias from Portugal to Crete. Euphorbia characias subsp. Wulfenii is from Southern France to Anatolia.
It grows in the form of a shrub or bush up to a metre high with many stems and characteristic black or dark brown nectar glands in the cyathia. The fruits are smooth capsules. It is a tough perennial plant, capable of resisting long periods of drought. It grows preferably in dry areas. This plant can also resist high salinity.
Garden cultivars are commercialized under the names "Portuguese Velvet", "Black Pearl", "Thelma's Giant", "Lambrook Gold", “Kea”, "Silver Swan" and "Tasmanian Tiger", among others. They come in a variety of colours, from silvery grey and bluish green to greenish yellow. These garden varieties are valued in Mediterranean or desert landscaping for not being highly demanding and for looking good despite lack of watering in sunny areas.
This bush also has uses in traditional medicine; like many other species of the genus, Euphorbia has a caustic, poisonous milky sap (latex). This sticky sap has been used to treat skin excrescences, like cancers, tumours, and warts since ancient times.
Like all members of the family Euphorbiaceae, all spurges have unisexual flowers.

In this photo see the deep brown nectaries giving a brown spot in the centre of the flower



Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0