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Pencil Tree
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Pencil Tree
P Native Photo: Ashutosh Sharma
Common name: Pencil Tree, Aveloz, Indian tree spurge, Naked lady, Pencil cactus, Milk bush • Hindi: उंगली ठौर Anglithor, Barki-sehund, barki-thohar, Gangli-thor • Kannada: Bonta-kalli, Bontakalli, Bontekalli • Malayalam: Kodikalli, Kolkalli, Guda, Katerumakkali, Pasam, Thirukkalli • Marathi: Kada nivali, Nevli, Nirval • Sanskrit: Bahukshira, Dandasruha, Dandathuhara • Tamil: Chakkalavi, Chatukalavi, Kalli • Telugu: Chemadu, Chemudu, Jamudu
Botanical name: Euphorbia tirucalli    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Euphorbia media, Euphorbia scoparia, Euphorbia viminalis, Tirucalia indica

Pencil Tree is a shrub or small tree with pencil-thick, green, smooth, fleshy branches that reaches heights of growth of up to 7 m. It has a cylindrical and fleshy stem with fragile fleshy twigs that are 7 mm thick, often produced in whorls, longitudinally, finely stripedd. The oval leaves are 1-2.5 cm long and about 3-4 mm wide; they usually fall off early. It contains a milky, toxic and corrosive sap. The yellow flowers are borne at the ends of the branches. Cyathia clustered in the forks of the branchlets, shortly stalked, mostly female. Involucre bell-shaped; glands 3-5, transversely oval, peltate, lobes short, hairy; appendage 0. Male florets bracteolate, bracteoles laciniate at tip. Styles short, recurved, 2-lobed. Capsule 5 mm, spherical, cocci compressed, velvety. Pencil Tree is native to Ethiopia to S. Africa and India.
Medicinal uses: Pencil Tree is used as alternative medicine in many cultures. Attempts have been made to use it to treat cancer, excrescence, tumors, warts, asthma, cough, earache, neuralgia, rheumatism, and toothaches in countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

Identification credit: Ashutosh Sharma Photographed near Bannerghata National Park, Karnataka.

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