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Euphorbia virosa (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Rosids
Cladus: Eurosids I
Ordo: Malpighiales

Familia: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamilia: Euphorbioideae
Tribus: Euphorbieae
Subtribus: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia
Subgenus: E. subg. Euphorbia
Sectio: E. sect. Euphorbia
Species: Euphorbia virosa
Subspecies: E. v. subsp. arenicola – E. v. subsp. virosa

Euphorbia virosa Willd., 1799
Native distribution areas:

Continental: Africa
Regional: Southern Africa
SW. Angola to Cape Prov.

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Willdenow, C.L. 1799. Species Plantarum. Editio quarta. Tomus 2, pars 2. pp. [835]–1340. Berolini: G.C. Nauk. BHL Biblioteca Digital Reference page. : 2(2):882.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Euphorbia virosa in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 13. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Euphorbia virosa. Published online. Accessed: Jul 13 2020.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Euphorbia virosa in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 13. Reference page.
Tropicos.org 2020. Euphorbia virosa. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 13.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Euphorbia virosa in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Gifboom
English: Gifboom

Euphorbia virosa, the Gifboom or poison tree, is a plant of the spurge family Euphorbiaceae. It has a short main stem, usually twisted, from which 5–10 cm branches emerge. These leafless branches have 5 to 8 edges. Paired thorns grow in regularly spaced intervals from the edges.[1]

Euphorbia virosa is commonly distributed from the Orange River in South Africa to Southern Angola, and occurs throughout the Namib Desert, mainly on rocky slopes.[2] The plant contains within the branches a milky and creamy substance with carcinogenic properties. This substance is very poisonous and is used by San (Bushmen) to dip the tips of their hunting arrows. Contact with it causes skin irritation, and if the eyes are afflicted, blindness may occur.[1]
Gifboom in a natural setting at the Fish River Canyon

Descriptions and articles about Euphorbia virosa - Encyclopedia of Life

Burke, Antje (2012). 111 Roadside plants. Windhoek: Namibia Scientific Society. p. 147. ISBN 978-99945-76-51-7.

External links
"Euphorbia virosa". Desert-tropicals. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
"Euphorbia virosa". The Cactus and succulent plant mall. Retrieved 2010-02-15.
"Euphorbia virosa in Spain". La Guía de Plantas (in Spanish). Retrieved 2010-02-15.
Dressler, S.; Schmidt, M. & Zizka, G. (2014). "Euphorbia virosa". African plants – a Photo Guide. Frankfurt/Main: Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg.

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