Triangular Spurge
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Triangular Spurge
Native Tree Photo: S. Kasim
Common name: Triangular Spurge, Square Spurge, Square milk hedge, Fleshy spurge • Hindi: त्रिधार Tridhara, वज्र कंटक Vajrakantaka • Manipuri: তেংনোউ Tengnou • Marathi: Narasya • Mizo: Chawng-hling • Tamil: சதுரக்கள்ளி chaturakalli, கள்ளி kalli, கண்டீரவம் Kantiravam, Kodiravam, Tiruvargalli • Malayalam: Chaturakkalli • Telugu: బొమ్మజెముడు bommajemudu, బొంతజెముడు bontha jemudu, bontha kl• Kannada: ಮುಂಡುಕಳ್ಳಿ Mundukalli, ಮುಂಡಗಳ್ಳಿ Mundugalli, ಮುಂಡುಗಳ್ಳಿ Mundugalli, ಮಂಡಗಳ್ಳಿ Mandagalli, ಮೊಂಡಗಳ್ಳಿ Mondagalli, ಮೊಂಡುಗಳ್ಳಿ Mondugalli • Bengali: Tiktasij • Konkani: Tirikon • Sanskrit: स्नुह् snuhu, वज्रकाण्टक Vajrakantaka
Botanical name: Euphorbia antiquorum    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)

Triangular Spurge is a small succulent tree, usually shrub-like, with plentiful white sap. Wide spread throughout peninsular India, it can be found growing up to an altitude of 800 m. One of the largest armed tree Euphorbias with an average height of 5-7 m, it has been known to attain gigantic proportions if left undisturbed. Older stems cylindrical, with brownish bark; younger branches smooth, green, distinctly 3(-4)-angled, distinctly articulate with the segments 6-30 by 2-5 cm, drying greenish, with shallow to hardly narrowed sinuses between the spine-shields. Spine-shields in rows, shallow, 1.5-2 cm apart, spines in pairs, (3-)4-6 mm long, blackish, persistent. The flower structures are called cyathia. Cyathium is an inflorescence consisting of a cuplike cluster of modified leaves enclosing a female flower and several male flowers. Yellow cyathia can be in triads or 3-4 individual together. They are full of honey that attract bees. Seed capsules turn deep red on maturity. The odour of its latex is pungent and lingering. Easily propagated from seed or vegetatively, this Euphorbia is common in collections and easy to grow.
Medicinal uses: Juice of the plant is useful in chest pain and constipation. Latex is applied to boils for early suppuration and healing. Root bark is purgative. Latex is useful in killing maggots of wounds. Saline extract of the plant is antibiotic.

Identification credit: S. Kasim Photographed in Tisayanvilai, Tamil Nadu.

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