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Euphorbia tirucalli L.


Euphorbia tirucalli L.




E. rhipsaloides Lem., E. media N.E.Br., E. scoparia N.E.Br.

Vernacular Names

Malaysia Kayu patah tulang, tulang-tulang, tentulang (Peninsular).
English Finger tree, pencil tree, rubber euphorbia.
Indonesia Patah tulang (General), kayu urip, tikel balung (Javanese).
Philippines Bali-bali (Panay Bisaya), suelda-con-suelda (Bikol), suerda (Tagalog).
Laos 'khi2 hai bai.
Thailand Khia cheen, khia thian, phayaa rai bai (Northern).
Vietnam x[uw][ow]ng c[as], c[aa]y x[uw][ow]ng kh[oo], san h[oo] xanh.
French Euphorbe effilé, tirucalli.

Geographical Distributions

Euporbia tirucalli is a native to tropical Africa, but widely planted and naturalised throughout the tropics and subtropics. Within Malesia not yet reported from Borneo and New Guinea.



E. tirucalliis an unarmed, succulent shrub or small tree that can reach up to measure 10(-15) m tall. The branches are often in whorls, cylindrical,measuring 5-8 mm in diametre and finely longitudinally striate.

The leaves are arranged alternate, early caducous, linear-lance-shaped, with a size of measure 0.7-1.6 cm x 0.1-0.3 cm, narrowing at the base, obtuse to subacute apex, hairless throughout or puberulent below, sessile or subsessile, minutely stipules and glandular.

The inflorescence is on the apices stem and in bifurcations, generally composed of unisexual cyathia, with rounded bracts and small. The cyathia is with 5 slightlt spherical to transversely elliptical and bright yellow glands.

The capsule is exserted on a hairy pedicel, nearly spherical, measure 7-8 mm in diametre and glabrescent.

The seeds are smooth, buff speckled with brown and with a dark brown ventral line.


Ecology / Cultivation

E. tirucalli easily naturalises in brushwood, open woodland and grassland, up to 2000 m altitude.

Line Drawing / Photograph


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  1) Safety


  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12 (1): Medicinal and poisonous plants.


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