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Useful Tropical Plants

Euphorbia peplus

L.

Euphorbiaceae

+ Synonyms

Esula minima Haw.

Esula peploides (Gouan) Fourr.

Esula peplus (L.) Haw.

Esula rotundifolia (Lam.) Gray

Euphorbia calabrica Huter

Euphorbia chamaepeploides Lotsy

Euphorbia minima (Haw.) Mart.

Euphorbia oleracea Pers.

Euphorbia peploides Gouan

Euphorbia pusilla Lag.

Euphorbia pusillima Post

Euphorbia rotundifolia (Lam.) Loisel.

Euphorbion peplum (L.) St.-Lag.

Galarhoeus peplus (L.) Prokh.

Keraselma oleraceum (Pers.) Raf.

Keraselma peplus (L.) Raf.

Keraselma reniforme Raf.

Tithymalus peploides (Gouan) Klotzsch & Garcke

Tithymalus peplus (L.) Hill

Tithymalus rotundifolius Lam.

Common Name:

Euphorbia peplus
Growing as a weed in a garden
Photograph by: Steve1nova
Public domain
Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus Euphorbia peplus

General Information

Euphorbia peplus is an erect, annual plant growing up to 30cm tall[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. This species is one of several in the family Euphorbiaceae that have attracted attention as a potential treatment for a range of cancers. It is cultivated in Australia for the extraction of its anti-cancer compounds, but overall quantities are unknown[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. It is potentially suitable for large-scale agricultural production[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Known Hazards

The latex causes irritation of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Due to the toxicity of the latex, it is advised to use the plant topically only[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Lactating goats, which fed on the aerial parts of this plant mixed with their usual green fodder, showed symptoms of general poisoning. The main toxic effects were seen in the heart, lung and liver. The milk of these goats, when consumed by their offspring, caused poisoning and even death, with signs similar to those observed in the adults. The toxicity is caused by ingenane type diterpenes[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Botanical References


Range

Most of Europe, central Asia, the Mediterranean, north Africa to Eritrea and Somalia, Arabian Peninsula to India and China.

Habitat

Disturbed localities, gardens, pavements, waste places and pastures, at elevations from sea-level up to 1,500 metres[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitAnnual
Height0.25 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a position with some shade[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Australia Euphorbia peplus is grown in small plots for latex production. As the plants can be easily killed by herbicides, and because they do not spread beyond shade, the risk that they will become an invasive weed is small[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The plant is classified as 'Invasive' in several countries however, including New Zealand and a number of Pacific Islands[
305
Title
Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.hear.org/pier/scientificnames/index.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A very good website detailing weed species that have been introduced into the Pacific Islands.
].
If enough water is available throughout the year, Euphorbia peplus grows and produces seeds all year round and can be harvested for latex or seed whenever the need arises[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The plant develops rapidly as it matures in 12 - 14 weeks[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
In Australia the fresh plant yield of Euphorbia peplus is 1 - 1.5 kg/m2, and latex yield is 100 - 300 mg/kg freshly harvested plant parts[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

This species is one of a number of plants in the Euphorbiaceae family that has attracted attention as a home remedy for skin cancer, particularly basal cell carcinomas. The latex causes irritation of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Due to the toxicity of the latex, it is advised to use the plant topically only[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Several of the active compounds in this plant are good candidates to be developed into anticancer drugs considering the promising pharmacological studies and clinical trials results. As the active compounds are complex molecules, they have not yet been chemically produced, and can only be obtained directly from the plant. More research into large-scale production and mechanisation of cultivation and latex extraction is needed[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The latex yields mostly diterpenes of the jatrophane, pepluane and ingenane types. Jatrophane and pepluane diterpenes are non-inflammatory, whereas ingenane diterpenes are responsible for the irritant and tumour-promoting properties of the latex[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]
Of the pepluane esters, pepluanone showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in vivo[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
The most active compound is a hydrophobic diterpene ester, ingenol 3-angelate (PEP005), an irritant compound, which possesses topical anti-tumour activity against human cancer cell lines. It has given more than 90% complete responses on different skin cancers in a Phase II clinical trial and has emerged as a potential new topical anti-skin cancer. PEP005 also has potent antileukaemic effects and a powerful inhibitory activity against a wide range of other tumours tested, including breast cancer cells[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Several diterpenes exhibited a pronounced or moderate anti-herpes virus[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A crude chloroform extract and hot water extract of the aerial parts showed significant molluscicidal activity against Biomphalaria alexandrina and Bulinus truncates[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
An acetone extract showed larvicidal activity against the mosquito Culex pipiens[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
A methanolic leaf extract inhibited the growth of Aspergillus flavus, and also inhibited the production of aflatoxins, with greater inhibition at higher concentrations[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The milky latex is toxic and irritant and is widely known as a therapeutic agent for the removal of warts and sun-spots on the skin[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. The latex is used in local medicine against corns and waxy growths[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The plant is also used for its expectorant, anthelmintic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory activities[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

A leaf decoction is taken to treat diarrhoea and dysentery[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
]. An infusion of the aerial parts is taken to treat asthma, catarrh, as a purgative and to lower blood pressure[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

The plant (part not specified, but likely to be the latex) was widely used in the Ukraine in the 1990s as a treatment for cancer of the stomach, liver and uterus[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - very small (about 1,700 seeds per g) they have a germination rate of more than 70%[
299
Title
Protabase - Plant Resources of Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.prota.org
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent on-line database with detailed information on over 3,200 species of useful plants of Africa.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-06-18. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Euphorbia%20peplus>

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