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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: Hippomaneae
Subtribus: Hippomaninae
Genus: Sapium
Species: S. adenodon – S. allenii – S. appendiculatum – S. argutum – S. ciliatum – S. contortum – S. cuneatum – S. daphnoides – S. glandulosum – S. haematospermum – S. haitiense – S. jenmannii – S. lateriflorum – S. laurifolium – S. laurocerasus – S. leucogynum – S. macrocarpum – S. marmieri – S. obovatum – S. pachystachys – S. pallidum – S. parvifolium – S. paucinervium – S. rigidifolium – S. sceleratum – S. sellowianum – S. stylare
⧼Source(s) of checklist⧽:

Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Sapium in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 16. Reference page.


Sapium P.Browne, Civ. Nat. Hist. Jamaica: 338 (1756), nom. cons.

Type species: Sapium aucuparium Jacq.


Seborium Raf., Sylva Tellur.: 63 (1838).
Sapiopsis Müll.Arg. in Candolle, Prodr. 15(2): 1205 (1866).

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Trop. & Subtrop. America

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

Browne, P. 1756. The Civil and Natural History of Jamaica in Three Parts. London. BHL Reference page. : 338.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Sapium in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 16. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Sapium. Published online. Accessed: Jul 16 2020. 2020. Sapium. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2020 Jul 16.

Vernacular names
العربية: شمع
English: Milktree
日本語: シラキ属
中文: 乌桕属

Sapium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Euphorbiaceae.[2][3] It is widespread across most of Latin America and the West Indies.[1][4] Many Old World species were formerly included in the genus, but recent authors have redistributed all the Old World species into other genera.[5]

Species are known commonly as milktrees.[6]

These are shrubs and trees. They produce latex. The leaves are alternately arranged and smooth-edged or toothed. They are monoecious, often with spikelike or raceme-shaped inflorescences that have several male flowers, plus a few female flowers near the base. The male flowers have 2 to 4 stamens. The female flowers have 2 to 4 styles which are sometimes coiled. The flowers lack petals. The fruit has 2 to 4 lobes and may split open or not.


Sapium adenodon - Cuba
Sapium allenii - Costa Rica
Sapium argutum - Fr Guiana, Suriname, Amapá, Fernando de Noronha
Sapium ciliatum - Fr Guiana, Suriname, Pará
Sapium cuneatum - Jamaica
Sapium daphnoides - Cuba, Hispaniola
Sapium glandulosum - Mexico, West Indies, Central + S America to Uruguay
Sapium haematospermum - Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, N Argentina, Uruguay
Sapium haitiense - Massif de la Hotte, Haiti
Sapium jenmannii - Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, NW Brazil; naturalised in Trinidad
Sapium lateriflorum - C + S Mexico, Central America
Sapium laurifolium - Chiapas, Greater Antilles, Central America, NW South America
Sapium laurocerasus - Puerto Rico
Sapium leucogynum - Cuba
Sapium macrocarpum - Mexico, Central America
Sapium marmieri - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, NW Brazil
Sapium obovatum - Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay
Sapium pachystachys - Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama
Sapium pallidum - Bahia, Minas Gerais
Sapium parvifolium - Cuba
Sapium paucinervium - NE South America
Sapium sellowianum - Minas Gerais, São Paulo
Sapium stylare - Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador


The milky sap of Sapium biloculare is poisonous if it comes into contact with the eyes, mucus membranes, stomach or bloodstream. It was used in arrow poison and to stupefy fish.[7]


Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Jacquin, Nicolaus Joseph von. 1790. Enumeratio Systematica Plantarum, quas in insulis Caribaeis 9, 31 in Latin
Tropicos, Sapium Jacq.
Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G. & Radcliffe-Smith, A. (2000). World Checklist and Bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (and Pandaceae) 1-4: 1-1622. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Kruijt, R. C. (1996). A taxonomic monograph of Sapium Jacq., Anomostachys (Baill.) Hurus., Duvigneaudia J. Léonard and Sclerocroton Hochst. (Euphorbiaceae tribe Hippomaneae). Biblioth. Bot. 146, 1-109.
Sapium. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Peattie, Donald Culross (1953). A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books. p. 595.

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