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

References and further reading

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

The Gardener - 2021/02 - Author: - Published: 2021 - Page: 4

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

The Gardener - 2019/11 - Author: - Published: 2019 - Page: 56

Succulents of South Africa - Author: E. Van Jaarsveld, B. Van Wyk and G. Smith - Published: 2000 - Page: 131

Succulent Flora of Southern Africa - 3rd edition - Author: Doreen Court - Published: 2010 - Page: 173

Struik Pocket Guides for Southern Africa - Poisonous Plants - Author: Eugene and Glen Moll - Published: 1989 - Page: 26

Sappi Tree Spotting: KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape - 2nd edition - Author: Val Thomas and Rina Grant - Published: 2004 - Page: 104

Sappi Wild Flower Guide - Mpumalanga and Northern Province - Author: Jo Onderstall - Published: 1996 - Page: 118

Piet van Wyks Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 1st edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 1988 - Page: 137

Indigenous Garden Plants of Southern Africa - Author: Glenice Ebedes - Published: 2017 - Page: 80

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 284

Guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2009 - Page: 99

Field Guide to the Trees of the Kruger National Park - 5th edition - Author: Piet van Wyk - Published: 2008 - Page: 137

Field guide to Succulents of Southern Africa - Author: Gideon Smith & Neil Crouch - Published: 2017 - Page: 364

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

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