Ajuntament de Barcelona

Euphorbia candelabrum

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Spanish name: 
    Árbol candelabro
    English name: 
    Candelabra tree
    Species characteristics
    Horn of Africa and East African Rift
    Rocky areas, both in plains and hillsides, savannas and thorny bush areas

    Tree 10 m tall, although it can reach 20 m, with short trunk, 90 cm in diameter, and inverse umbrella-shaped crown.

    The dark green stems are similar to the ones from the cactus. They have four very marked ondulated ribs and prickles at the awns. The stems, very ramified, are slightly narrowed at irregular gaps. In humid and hot climates, they produce simple lanceolate leaves near every branch tip.

    The fleshy greenish yellow flower appear into small groups (3-6) over the pair of prickles and are differenciate by gender.

    The green fruit, about the size of a pea, is formed by two or three locules (compartments).

    Flowering time: 
    Early autumn
    Uses and properties: 

    Used in popular medicine in Ethiopia.

    History and curiosities: 

    In 1753 Carl Linnaeus assigned Euphorbia as a genus name honouring the Greek doctor and herbalist Euphorbus, personal doctor of Juba II of Numidia and Mauritania (52/50 aC-23 dC) and brother of Antonius Musa, who was Augustus's personal doctor. According Plinius the Elder (23-79), Juba found in Atlas mountains a plant which he named euphorbia honouring his personal doctor. However, the studies by the French philologist Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) show that the name euphorbia and the knowledge of the plant are previous to Juba (it was cited by Meleager about two hundred years before).

    The Latin term candelabrum, “candelabra”, alludes to the plant shape, similar to a candelabra.