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Euphorbia virosa

Bottle tree
Scientific classification
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Euphorbiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: virosa
Binomial name
Euphorbia virosa

Euphorbia virosa is a plant from the Euphorbiaceae (spurges) family. It has a short main stem, usually twisted, from which 5-10 cm branches emerge. These leafless branches have 5 to 8 edges. Paired thorns grow in regularly spaced intervals from the edges. The Euphorbia virosa is commonly distributed from the Orange River in South Africa to Southern Angola, occupying mainly arid areas in Namibia. The plant contains within the branches a milky and creamy substance with carcinogenic properties. This substance is very poisonous and is used by Bushmen to dip the tips of their hunting arrows. Contact with it causes skin irritation and if the eyes are afflicted, blindness may occur.