Syn.: Tithymalus balsamifer (Ait.) Haw.
Family: Euphorbiaceae Juss.
Euphorbia balsamifera
Distribution: A Saharan-Arabian species, occurs from the Canary Islands across Northern Africa to Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Habitat: It grows on dry rocks and stone slopes, common in coastal regions.
Euphorbia balsamifera
Description: A woody, succulent shrub, 20–200 cm high, a densely branched. The greyish stems with a terminal rosette of leaves, the leaves are oblong-spathulate, pale green to glaucous, obtuse to acute, up to 3.5 cm long. The inflorescences consisting of a single terminal flower, floral glands oval to rounded, more or less entire. Flowers from December to July. The capsules are solitary, globose.
Use: All parts of the plant contain a white, non-poisonous latex which has traditionally been used as chewing gum and as means of removing cysts and warts. This plant has a high ornamental value.
Threat and Protection: This species is a protected plant by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Note: Euphorbia balsamifera serves as a host plant for the beetle Deroplia schurmanni.
Euphorbia balsamifera
Euphorbia balsamifera
Euphorbia balsamifera
These images were taken in Spain, the Canary Islands, Tenerife, Malpaís de Güimar (by Ladislav Hoskovec, date 1. 4. 2006); the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura, Coralejo (by Naďa Gutzerová, February 2005).