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Euphorbia gymnocalycioides

Euphorbia gymnocalycioides

Another thank you to billy liar@Flickr for sharing a photograph with BPotD (BPotD Flickr Group Pool | original). Much appreciated!

This euphorbia bears such a striking similarity to a genus in the cactus family, Gymnocalycium, that it was given the epithet gymnocalycioides (resembling Gymnocalycium). It is a fine example of convergent evolution, a process in which the same adaptive traits evolve in distantly related species or groups as a response to similar environments (in this case, hot and dry deserts). Euphorbia gymnocalycioides is native to Ethiopia while the genus Gymnocalycium is distributed in the grasslands and deserts of southern South America.

The genus Euphorbia has over two thousand species with a striking diversity of form, from annuals to perennials (succulent or otherwise) to shrubs and trees. Most, if not all, contain a milky latex sap that can cause severe inflammation (see the comments re: Euphorbia myrsinites). Another hallmark of the group is highly reduced flowers; see the illustration “Euphorbia cyathium explained” on this page about flowers from an Iowa State University plant systematics course.

7 Comments

What an interseting Euphorbia. I have been working to save a very old plant, which is a Crown of Thorns another Euphorbia. I does seems that they come in many shapes and sizes.
The is a wonderful Photograph.
Thank you,
Margaret-Rae

I've never seen this euphorb before, nice shot too!

Thanks!

Since the identifying name was way beyond my poor brain, when I looked at the picture I thought for sure it was some sort of squash. I love it, it is beautiful, and I am happy to know it was not a squash. I wonder if animals eat it, as it says it is toxic, however I have heard that if something is toxic to humans it might not be to critters.

Lovely photograph, everything seemed to be just right for the photographer, the light, the background.. all. It is a wonderful picture.

Thanks so much.

Euphorbia, u-for-be-a; after Euphorbus, physician to Juba, King of Mauritania. Plant Names Simplified, Johnson and Smith.

Euphorbias have long been an especial favorite group of plants to me. They are so diverse and many are "other worldly". I have never seen this one before. I absolutely love Botany Photo of the Day.
Carol

We at ABC have a very old plant of this species which is branching a lot. It was grafted on the columnar spurge Euphorbia resinifera and become 20 cm in diameter. I see branches growing on inflorescence pedicells too.

Flawlessly cultivated.

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