Thornless Crown of Thorns
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Thornless Crown of Thorns
P Introduced Photo: Preetha P.S.
Common name: Thornless Crown of Thorns, Gerold's Spurge
Botanical name: Euphorbia geroldii    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Thornless Crown of Thorns is a much-branched, unarmed, semi fleshy shrub up to 2 m tall. When it flowers, the plant resembles Crown of Thorns, with the large, red flowers and shiny, dark green fleshy leaves. Branches are cylindrical, woody, 2 cm in diametter at base and spineless. Leaves are in lax spirals, elliptic-lanceshaped, up to 8 cm long and 3 cm wide, shiny dark green, margin red, nearly stalkless. Flower-symes are at branch-ends, simple. Flower-cluster-stalks are up to 3 cm long. Cyathophylls (specialized leaves that surround the cyathium and give an overall flower-like appearance to the inflorescence) spreading, rounded, up to 2.5 cm long and 2.8 cm wide, bases overlapping, bright red. Flowers (Cyathia) are 2 mm in diameter; nectar-gland small, transversely-elliptic, erect, lemon-yellow. Involucral bracts are small, pale yellow, tip toothed. Male flowers are few, bracteoles fringed. Filaments are short, thick; anthers spherical, pale. Thornless Crown of Thorns is native to Madagascar, cultivated elsewhere.

Identification credit: Preetha P.S. Photographed in cultivation in Vizhinjam, Kerala.

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