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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Rubber-hedge Euphorbia

Afrikaans name: Kraalmelkbos

Branches of the Rubber-hedge Euphorbia

Rubber-hedge Euphorbia tree

Photo © Steven Herbert

Euphorbia tirucalli

This Euphorbia gives off a toxic milky latex substance when leaves are broken and this is why this tree is used extremely widely as a hedge. It is a good deterrent to stop intruders.

The Rubber-hedge Euphorbia normally reaches a height of around 5 metres or less but some specimens may reach double this height. The tree gets tiny leaves which are not often noticed and do not stay on the plant for long. The green cyclindrical parts of the tree are actually branches or twigs.

The flowers are also small and are yellowish in colour. They are produced during early summer followed by the small fruits.

The Rubber-hedge Euphorbia is toxic and care should be taken not to come into contact with the latex. The tree is believed to have some medical qualities but it is best avoided.

Bark of Euphorbia tirucalli

The bark is grayish in colour and rough

Photo © Steven Herbert

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Trees of Southern Africa - Author: E. Palmer - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 193

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - Author: Piet van Wyk - Year Published: 2008 - Page: 137

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Year Published: 2004? - Page: 104

The Complete Field Guide to Trees of Natal, Zululand and Transkei - Author: Elsa Pooley - Year Published: 1994 - Page: 236

Trees of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Keith Coates Palgrave - Year Published: 2002 - Page: 534

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