All succulent Euphorbiaceae (Euphorbia, Monadenium, Jatropha etc.) contain a poisonous sap which exudes from the tiniest injuries or sometimes even when only touching the plant.


Typically this sap is milky white and sets into a latex.

As an exception, the sap of Jatropha is clear.


In some species the poison is only mild, but in others it is

extremely dangerous.


The reason for this are the irritants contained in the sap especially the multitude of Di- and Triterpens. On mucous membranes and in the eyes even the smallest splashes can cause long-lasting, severe pain. In addition to this, several of the ingredients can promote tumours.


If you have small children or pets, Euphorbias are perhaps the wrong plants for you. At least you should take every possible precaution that children and animals can not get to these plants.


For the taking of cuttings and all other activities where Euphorbia sap could be present, you should wear rubber gloves and safety goggles. As even the invisible vapour of the sap can cause discomfort, you should provide for adequate aeration.

Never touch your eyes while working with the plants.

Afterwards wash your hands very carefully and clean all tools.

Wash yourself again.




After all the warnings you should not be frightended of growing Euphorbias. These beautiful and interesting plants are certain worth to be grown in cultivation. They only require a higher level of care and prudence when in contact with them.


Dogs, cats and other pets are dangerous, too. They can scratch, bite ore somehow injure people critically, but they do not if they get the right care and treatment. Similar Euphorbia are harmless if in knowledge of their potential dangerousness they are treated the right way.






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