Tibetan Spurge
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Tibetan Spurge
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Tibetan Spurge
Botanical name: Euphorbia tibetica    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Tithymalus tibeticus, Galarhoeus tibeticus

Tibetan Spurge is a semi-prostrate hairless glaucous somewhat fleshy perennial herb up to 20 cm, although commonly 5-10 cm tall, with many stems. Stem-leaves are alternate, almost stalkless, very variable in shape and size, obtriangular, oblanceolate, oblong or linear, 0.1-3 x 0.1-0.5 cm, pointed, blunt, flat or tricuspidate at the tip, tapered to the base, entire or irregularly or remotely toothed in the upper half. Inflorescence is an ill-defined terminal pseudo-umbel or cyme. Involucral leaves are 2 or 3, ovate-triangular, primary rays 2 or 3, 0.2-2.5 cm; cymes about 3 times forked. Cyathophylls are 2, similar to primary involucral leaves. Cyathia are shortly stalked, broadly bellshaped. There are 4 glands transversely oblong, rounded on the outer edge, madder, maroon or black, which look like petals of a flower. Fruit are long-pedicellate, rounded-lrilobate, ovoid, 4 x 4.5 mm, smooth. Styles free, 0.5 mm long, bifid, the stigmas strongly recurved. Seeds are oblong-ovoid, 2.5 x 1.5 x 1.25 mm, smooth, grey, with a small terminal conical caruncle. Tibetan Spurge is found in Soviet Central Asia, W. Tibet, NW India, W. China. In India it is found in deserts, semidesert areas, dry and semidry fields in the Himalayas, in Ladakh, Spiti, Kinnaur, at altitudes of 2500-5000 m. Flowering: June-August.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
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