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


Euphorbia peplus (Pretty Spurge)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. peplusbia 
Binomial name: Euphorbia peplus
Common name: Milkweed, Petty spurge, Radium weed or Cancer weed


This plant is poisonous
Visit http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/plants-toxic-if-eaten-by-man.html

Euphorbia peplus is a species of Euphorbia, native to most of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, where it typically grows in cultivated arable land, gardens, and other disturbed land. Outside of its native range it is very widely naturalised and often invasive, including in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and other countries in temperate and sub-tropical regions.

It is an annual plant growing between 5–30 cm tall (most plants growing as weeds of cultivation tend towards the smaller end), with smooth hairless stems. The leaves are oval-acute, 1–3 cm long, with a smooth margin. It has green flowers in three-rayed umbels. The glands, typical of the Euphorbiacae, are kidney-shaped with long thin horns.

Medicinal uses: The milky latex sap is toxic, and used as a therapeutic agent for the removal of warts and sunspots on the skin.[1] The anti-tumour component of Euphorbia peplus is ingenol mebutate. Commercialisation as a topical gel PEP005 has undergone trials showing that it is effective in treating superficial basal cell carcinomas.




The tiny flowers

Photos below are of a young plant.