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Euphorbia didiereoides Denis & Leandri

Protologue
Bull. Mus. natn. Hist. nat., Paris, sér. 2, 6: 121 (1934).
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Origin and geographic distribution
Euphorbia didiereoides is endemic to central and southern Madagascar.
Uses
A leaf decoction is taken to treat coughs in children, urogenital infections, haematuria and prostatic hypertrophy.
Euphorbia didiereoides is used as a succulent pot plant.
Botany
Monoecious, succulent, very spiny shrub with many erect stems from the base, up to 2.5 m tall; stems up to 15 cm in diameter, tapering to c. 3 cm at apex, with many short branches of 1–2 cm long; copious latex in all parts. Leaves arranged spirally, simple and entire, almost sessile; stipular spines 2, long, with cluster of shorter spines at base; blade lanceolate, V-folded, up to 2.5 cm × 1.5 cm, base cuneate, apex acute, margins red, densely hairy beneath, midvein prominent. Inflorescence a dense terminal head, consisting of clusters of flowers, each cluster called a ‘cyathium’, c. 3 mm in diameter, enclosed in an involucre, containing 1 female flower, several male flowers and several glands; peduncle up to 15 cm long, hairy; bracts erect, yellow to orange, hairy; nectar-producing glands ovate, yellow. Flowers unisexual; male flowers consisting of a single stamen; female flowers with superior ovary, 3-celled. Fruit a 3-lobed capsule, c. 5 mm in diameter, dark red, hairy.
Euphorbia comprises about 2000 species and has a worldwide distribution, with at least 750 species occurring in continental Africa and about 150 species in Madagascar and the Indian Ocean islands. Most species present in Madagascar are endemic to the island. Euphorbia didiereoides belongs to subgenus Lacanthis. The spiny, succulent Euphorbia primulifolia Baker also belongs to this subgenus. The latex is applied to syphilitic sores. The thickened root is used as bait to poison rats; it is also used for criminal purposes.
Several small leafy Euphorbia spp. endemic to Madagascar are also used medicinally.
The leafy stems of Euphorbia emirnensis Baker are crushed and the latex applied on skin parasites and warts. The thickened root is very toxic and fried slices are used as bait to poison rodents; it is also used as fish poison. An infusion of the leafy stem of Euphorbia orthoclada Baker is widely taken as a diuretic to treat kidney problems. The latex of Euphorbia trichophylla Baker is put on a sweet and given to children as a vermifuge. The latex is also used in bait to poison rats. The plant is used to prepare a black dye for locally made cloth. Euphorbia trichophylla is classified as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
For ornamental purposes Euphorbia didiereoides has been hybridized, e.g. with Euphorbia milii Des Moul. resulting in Euphorbia ‘Honkytonk’.
Ecology
Euphorbia didiereoides occurs on rock outcrops scattered in grassland and in the plateau areas, from sea-level up to 700 m altitude.
Management
Euphorbia didiereoides can be propagated by stem cuttings or seed.
Genetic resources and breeding
Euphorbia didiereoides has a limited distribution area, and numbers are diminishing due to habitat degradation, fires and collection for horticultural trade. Euphorbia didiereoides is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. As a succulent Euphorbia species, its trade is controlled under CITES appendix 2.
Prospects
Euphorbia didiereoides has some interesting local uses, but no phytochemical analyses have been done. More research is therefore warranted in order to evaluate its potential.
Major references
• Boiteau, P., Boiteau, M. & Allorge-Boiteau, L., 1999. Dictionnaire des noms malgaches de végétaux. 4 Volumes + Index des noms scientifiques avec leurs équivalents malgaches. Editions Alzieu, Grenoble, France.
• Eggli, U. (Editor), 2002. Illustrated handbook of succulent plants: Dicotyledons. Springer, Berlin, Germany. 554 pp.
• Ralantonirina, D., 1993. Aperçu sur les plantes médicinales dans le sud de Madagascar : étude faite sur les adultes dans le périmètre de la réserve spéciale de Beza - Mahafaly. Thèse pour l’obtention du grade de Docteur en médecine, Etablissement d’Enseignement Supérieur des Sciences de la Santé, Faculté de Médecine, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 95 pp.
• Rasolondratovo, B., Manjary, F., Rabemanantsoa, C., Rasoanaivo, P. & Ratsimamanga-Urverg, S., 1995. Contribution à l’inventaire des plantes utilisées comme remèdes et charmes dans la région sud de Madagascar. Revue de Médecines et Pharmacopées Africaines 9(2): 135–145.
Other references
• Cremers, G., 1977. Architecture végétative de quelques espèces malgaches du genre Euphorbia L. Bulletin du Jardin Botanique National de Belgique 47: 55–81.
• Haevermans, T., 2004. Euphorbia didiereoides. [Internet] In: IUCN. 2007 Red list of threatened species. http://www.iucnredlist.org. Accessed January 2008.
• Haevermans, T., Hoffmann, P., Lowry II, P.P., Labat, J.-N. & Randrianjohani, E., 2004. Phylogenetic analysis of the Madagascan Euphorbia subgenus Lacanthis based on its sequence data. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 91: 247–259.
• Leandri, J., 1962. Notes systématiques, phénologiques et autoécologiques sur l’Euphorbia orthoclada Bak. Adansonia, Série 2, 2(1): 117–121.
• Raharinirina, L., 2006. Contribution à l’étude physico-chimique d’une plante biologiquement active, l’Euphorbia orthoclada. Mémoire de DEA de Chimie Physique, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 96 pp.
• Randriamantsoa, L., 2003. Contribution à l’étude physico-chimique d’une plante douée d’une activité diurétique puissante. Mémoire de DEA de Chimie Physique, Faculté des Sciences, Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar. 59 pp.
Author(s)
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands


Editors
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
A. Gurib-Fakim
Faculty of Science, University of Mauritius, Réduit, Mauritius
Associate editors
C.H. Bosch
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
M.S.J. Simmonds
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, United Kingdom
R. Arroo
Leicester School of Pharmacy, Natural Products Research, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, United Kingdom
A. de Ruijter
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Schmelzer, G.H., 2008. Euphorbia didiereoides Denis & Leandri. In: Schmelzer, G.H. & Gurib-Fakim, A. (Editors). Prota 11(1): Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.