R. Riina

  Name:      Euphorbia resinifera   O. Berg, Offiz. Gew. 4: 34d verso. 1863.

Accepted Name:None
Common Names:
Resin spurge, Euphorbe à résine (Fr.), Zeggoun (Arabic), Tikiout (Berbère).
TOLKIN GUID:dd16d6a3-c48c-4a65-b7c2-b8a05bf5606a
TOLKIN GUID URL:http://app.tolkin.org/guids/dd16d6a3-c48c-4a65-b7c2-b8a05bf5606a
Type Details:
Species: None
Type Collection:
Type Date: None
Type Locality: None
Type Herbaria:
Holotype: Figs. M-X, p. 34d, Offiz. Gew. (1863).
Neo Type: None
Synonyms: show/hide
Tithymalus resiniferus (O. Berg) H. Karst., Deut. Fl. 587. 1882.
Euphorbia resinifera var. typica Croizat, Desert Pl. Life 14: 46. 1942.
Euphorbia resinifera var. chlarosoma Croizat, Desert Pl. Life 14: 46. 1942.
Subsection: None
Ingroup Clade:
Succulent shrubs up to 130 cm tall, multicaule, forming cushions of 0.5-2 m diam. Stems branched or not, glabrous, green glaucous to glaucescent, 4-angled rarely 3-angled, 2-3 cm thick, facets more or less concave; spine-shields ovate, no decurrent; spines short, 2-10 mm, attached basally to the spine-shield; flowering eye not contiguous with the spine shield. Leaves opposite, minute, on young growth, soon deciduous. Cyathia arranged in axillary cymes, 3 per cyme; lateral cyathia hermaphrodite, peduncles thick; central cyathium male, subsessile, developing first and falling off before the maturity of the capsules of the two other cyathia; subcyathial leaves 2, ovate-triangular, membranaceous. Involucre 3-5 mm long, campanulate, glabrous; lobes 5-6 subsemi-orbicular, membranaceous, obtuse, margin lacerate-cilliate; glands 5-6, fleshy, yellowish, 3-5 mm long, elliptic or trapezoidal. Staminate flowers: pedicel cylindrical surpasing the involucre at maturity, glabrous; bracts glabrous, enlongated and laciniate-fimbriate distally; filaments longer than anthers. Pistillate flower: ovary glabrous; styles 1.2-2 mm long, united at base, equaling about one-third of the length of the capsule, sub-bifid. Capsule depressed, 4-5 x 6-7 mm, largely truncate at the base, rounded or truncate at the apex, deeply trilobed, cocci compressed, angular, keeled (sometimes weakly) on the dorsal side, yellowish at the end, glabrous, smooth or very finely granulate when dried. Seeds subglobose, 2.7 x 2.5 mm, base rounded or subtruncate, apex obtuse, facets convex, the dorsal side marked by longitudinally more or less sharp central keel, grayish or yellowish; caruncle absent.

Arid hillsides and rocky slopes of the Anti-Atlas, on limestone substrates, 600-1800 elevation.
Phylogenetic Relationships:
ITS sequence analysis puts E. resinifera sister to E. officinarum which are all sister to a clade including E. sapinii, E. unispina, and E. sudanica. The ndhF phylogeny puts it close to E. elegantissima, E. heterochroma and E. heterospina (Dorsey et al., in prep.).
Apparently, Berg (1863) described this species using plant fragments from the herbal market, which were sold in Europe at the time as the source of euphorbium (Appendino & Szallasi, 1997).
Chromosome Number: None
The latex of E. resinifera (euphorbium) is used in traditional medicine as a pain suppressor on cavities and nerves, and it was also used in the industry, as an anti-fouling agent and a leather softener (Appendino & Szallasi, 1997).
The latex, or euphorbium, is a powerful skin irritant, vesicant, and purgative. The active principle of euphorbium is resiniferatoxin (Hergenhahn et al., 1975). In addition to resiniferatoxin, this species contains other irritant substances.
Conservation Status:
Least Concern (IUCN 2001). E. resinifera is endemic to Morocco, and it is abundant across its distribution range. From field observations (RR) it does not appear to be threatened by human activities.
General Distribution:
Collection number
Institution code
Merello, M.
Riina, R.
BCF (photo)
Riina, R.
MICH (photo)
Berry, P.E.
U.S.A. (in cultivation)
DNA Sample(s): 8036
DNA Sample(s) Sequences

Appendino, G., and Szallasi, A. (1997). Euphorbium: modern research on its active principle, resiniferatoxin, revives an ancient medicine. Life Sciences 60, 681-696.

Dorsey, B.L., Haevermans, T., Aubriot, X., Morawetz, J.J., Riina, R., Steinmann, V.W., and Berry, P.E. (2013). Phylogenetics, morphological evolution, and classification of Euphorbia subgenus Euphorbia. Taxon 62, 291–315.

Govaerts, R., Frodin, D.G., and Radcliff-Smith, A. (2000). World Checklist and Bibliography of Euphorbiaceae (and Pandaceae). The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Hergenhahn, M., Adolph, W., and Hecker, E. (1975). Resiniferatoxin and other esters of novel polyfunctional diterpenes from Euphorbia resinifera and unispina. Tetrahedron Lett. 16, 1595-1598.

IUCN. (2001). IUCN Red List Categories: Version 3.1., Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Lawant, P., and Winthangen, D. (2002). Euphorbia resinifera portrayed in a manuscript herbal nearly fifteen hundred years ago – revisited. Bradleya 20, 13-16.

Lawant, P., and Winthangen, D. (2001). Euphorbia resinifera portrayed in a manuscript herbal nearly fifteen hundred years ago. Bradleya 19, 3-14.

Natsoulas, J. (1985). Euphorbia resinifera Berg: from the great ridge of the Middle Atlas. Euphorbia J. 3, 43-45.

Vindt, J. (1953). Monographie des euphorbiacées du Maroc. Première partie. Revision et systématique. Trav. Inst. Sci. Chérifien, Sér. Bot. 6, 1–219.

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