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Useful Tropical Plants

Euphorbia unispina

N.E.Br.

Euphorbiaceae


This species is closely related to Euphorbia poissonii, and has similar uses[
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.
].

+ Synonyms

Common Name:

Euphorbia unispina
Plant growing in native habitat
Photograph by: Ulrich Meve; African plants - A Photo Guide
© Ulrich Meve
Euphorbia unispina Euphorbia unispina Euphorbia unispina Euphorbia unispina

General Information

Euphorbia unispina is a spiny, succulent shrub with a stout, sparsely-branched stem that can be up to 3 or 4 metres tall; it looks rather like a cactus. The branches can be 16 - 25mm thick, usually with a few leaves at their tips. The whole plant is a silvery grey, it is covered with shallow tubercles and horny spine shields up to 1 cm in diameter with a single spine[
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.
,
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
Although poisonous, the latex from the plant is harvested from the wild and used in local medicine. The latex contains various substances that have potential for use in conventional medicine. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental in west Africa; whilst in Europe and the United States it is a rare and difficult to grow pot plant in succulent collections[
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.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Known Hazards

The latex is very caustic, toxic and very irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. It can cause blindness when in contact with the eyes. It is incorporated into arrow-poisons, though always mixed with other ingredients, such as the seeds of Strophanthus species; it is also added to bait in traps and used as a fish poison[
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.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].

Botanical References

515
Title
Flora of Tropical Africa Vol 1 - 8
Publication
 
Author
Var
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
L.Reeve & Co.; Ashford, Kent.
Year
1868 - 1917
ISBN
 
Description
Very little information on habitat, range and uses, but gives good descriptions of the plants. It can be downloaded from the internet.

Range

West tropical Africa - Cote D'Ivoire to Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Sudan, south to Congo..

Habitat

Rocky hills and slopes in savannah; at elevations up to 800 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.
,
328
Title
African Flowering Plants Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ville-ge.ch/musinfo/bd/cjb/africa/recherche.php
Publisher
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques.
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Contains information on over 150,000 plant names (including synonyms) giving a description and habitat, plus a distribution map.
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height3.00 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

A plant of drier areas in the tropics.
Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[
385
Title
Bihrmann's Caudiciforms
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An internet site giving information on caudiciform plants (plants with swollen stem bases such as the Baobab tree, cycads and many succulents). Excellent photos, usually of cultivated plants in pots.
]. Succeeds in dry soils[
385
Title
Bihrmann's Caudiciforms
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.bihrmann.com/caudiciforms/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An internet site giving information on caudiciform plants (plants with swollen stem bases such as the Baobab tree, cycads and many succulents). Excellent photos, usually of cultivated plants in pots.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Although toxic, the latex is sometimes used in traditional medicine. Medicine-men hold that the site of sleeping sickness is in the ganglia of the neck and that ablation of them will effect a cure. They apply repeated dressings of the latex to achieve this[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. The latex is also used as a vesicant on areas of leprosy; it is rubbed onto the body to treat mental illness; and is placed in a carious tooth to relieve toothache or to help to loosen the tooth and render extraction easier[
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.
,
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
]. Two drops of the latex on an egg are eaten as an anthelmintic[
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, combined with palm oil, is taken to treat constipation and colic[
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 stem ash is inhaled to treat asthma[
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 dried leaves are smoked in a pipe to treat bronchitis[
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 macerate of the cut stems in water is applied to skin diseases and haemorrhoids[
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 vesicant action is due to the presence of triterpene derivatives[
332
Title
The Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa.
Publication
 
Author
Burkil. H. M.
Publisher
Royal Botanic Gardens; Kew.
Year
1985 - 2004
ISBN
 
Description
Brief descriptions and details of the uses of over 4,000 plants. A superb, if terse, resource, it is also available electronically on the Web - see http://www.aluka.org/
].
The latex contains esters of diterpene alcohols of both the daphnane and tigliane types, resiniferonol, as well as several macrocyclic esters of the diterpene alcohol 18-hydroxyingol. Daphnane esters are generally known for their potent skin irritant properties, whereas tigliane esters are toxic and tumour promoters; some tigliane esters, however, possess anticancer 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.
].
Resiniferatoxin is highly toxic, as it binds to pain receptors in the same way as capsaicin but much more powerfully. It stimulates the neurons to fire repeatedly until the neuron dies, causing searing pain and sending the victim into severe anaphylactic shock. It is used in the treatment of incontinence associated with an overactive bladder. It also has antifeedant and analgesic properties. Efforts are being made to synthesize this compound, as it will be of use in the elucidation of the binding characteristics of resiniferatoxin to its receptor sites[
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.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is sometimes grown in gardens in west Africa as an ornamental plant or as a hedge around fields and graveyards[
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 -
Easily propagated by stem cuttings. These should be at least 20cm long, preferably cut at the base of a branch where the cut surface will be woody. After cutting they should be allowed to lie in a shaded place for at least 2 weeks for a callus to form on the cut end[
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. 2024-04-12. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Euphorbia+unispina>

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