Mottled-spurge

 
 

Mottled-spurge, or candelabra-spurge, is probably native to the tropics of Asia, its precise origin is unknown because it has been transported and cultivated for centuries. It reaches a height of 25 feet, with a trunk 1 foot in diameter. Branches are triangular, up to 3 inches wide, succulent, with spiny projections at intervals. The leaves are minute and are only present in young branches. Flowers are also minute and appear along the branches; apparently it does not flower or produce fruits in Puerto Rico, reproducing only by fragments of the branches. Although it resembles a cactus and has many of the same adaptations for survival in dry areas, mottled-spurge does not belong to that family of plants. The generic name honors Euphorbus, a Greek physician who served Juba II, king of the ancient kingdom of Mauretania. The species name means milky, in reference to the white latex produced by cut branches.


The photographed trees are near the southwest end of the main student parking lot and are the only members of the species in the campus. They were planted by Hipólito Irizarry and Joaquín Oliver.

Euphorbia lactea (Euphorbiaceae)