Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Euphorbia lactea
Haworth, Euphorbiaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 8 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: candelabra cactus, candelabra spurge, dragon bones, elkhorn, false cactus, frilled fan, hatrack cactus, milkstripe euphorbia, mottled candlestick, mottled spurge

Spanish: candelero, lechero de lindero

Habit:  tree

Description:  "This cactus-like shrub or small tree planted for ornament and in hedges is easily identified as a spurge by the abundant white ;poisonous latex that flows from cuts.  Other distinguishing characters are: (1) fleshy or succulent green stems and branches 3-angled and 1-3 inches across; and (2) leaves minute and shedding early, represented by paired gray spines (stipules) 1/4-1/8 inch long from raised edges or ridges of branches.

"A usually leafless but evergreen shrub or small tree to 25 feet high and 6 inches in trunk diameter, with fleshy or succulent stems, much branched, hairless throughout.  Stems with whorls of branches nearly to base but on large plants shedding the spiny tissue and developing a rounded brown, fissured trunk.  The 3-angled (sometimes 4-angled) branches are mostly joints 4-12 inches long and 1-3 inches across, slightly shiny dark green, with yellowish or whitish streak in the groove of the axis between the angles.  White latex runs abundantly from the outer part of cut stems.  The soft cut branches have a light green outer layer less than 1/8 inch thick, which yields latex, and within whitish watery tissue, slightly bitter.  Raised leaf bases 1/4-1/2 inch high and about 3/4-1 inch apart along the edges of branches correspond to nodes and bear paired spreading gray spines (stipules).  The few scattered leaves are alternate, minute, stalkless, rounded, 1/8-1/4 inch long, slightly shiny green, succulent, slightly thick and shedding early, or absent. The flowers are small and inconspicuous, borne intermittently"  (Little et al., 1974; pp. 410-411).

Habitat/ecology:  "These plants with succulent stems and water storage tissue are adapted to dry regions.  Like cacti, they have developed similar compact for with reduced surface and less water loss, also green stems replacing leaves in food manufacture."  In Puerto Rico, "escaping from cultivation, spreading and forming thickets in some places" (Little et al., 1974; pp. 410-411).

Propagation:  Seed

Native range:  "Widely cultivated, possible origin tropical Asia" (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Ma‘uke Island introduced
McCormack, Gerald (2013)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Floreana Group
Floreana Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Isabela Group
Volcán Sierra Negra, Isabela Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
San Cristóbal Group
San Cristóbal Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Baltra Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Kosrae Island
Kosrae Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy (2010) (p. 16)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 85)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Fatu Hiva Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Marquesas Islands
Nuku Hiva (Nukahiva) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Taha‘a Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island   Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 43)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Tuamotu Archipelago
Makatea (Ma‘atea) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J. (1997) (p. 64)
French Polynesia
Austral (Tubuai) Islands
Rurutu Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands introduced
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral/Imada, Clyde T. (2000) (p. 21)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Kaua‘i Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: OED 2010062201 (BISH)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
O‘ahu Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex (2012) (p. 35)
Voucher cited: OED 2009063002 (BISH)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 100)
Marshall Islands
Ratak Chain
Majuro (Mãjro) Atoll introduced
cultivated
Vander Velde, Nancy (2003) (p. 93)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Ngerkebesang Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie (2009) (p. Field notes)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Colombia
Colombia
Colombia (Republic of) introduced
Little, Elbert L./Woodbury, Roy O./Wadsworth, Frank H. (1974) (p. 410)
Cultivated?
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 40)
Cultivated only

Additional information:
Additional online information about Euphorbia lactea is available from the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk project (HEAR).

Information about Euphorbia lactea as a weed (worldwide references) may be available from the Global Compendium of Weeds (GCW).

Taxonomic information about Euphorbia lactea may be available from the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).

References:

Charles Darwin Foundation. 2008. Database inventory of introduced plant species in the rural and urban zones of Galapagos. Charles Darwin Foundation, Galapagos, Ecuador.

Charles Darwin Research Station. 2005. CDRS Herbarium records.

Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. 2009. A checklist of the total vascular plant flora of Singapore: native, naturalised and cultivated species. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore. 273 pp.

Florence, J. 1997. Flore de la Polynésie française, Vol. 1. Paris. Editions de l'Orstom, Institut Français de Recherche Scientifique pour le Développement en Coopération, Collection Faune et Flore Tropicales 34. 393 pp.

Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. 2013. Base de données botaniques Nadeaud de l'Herbier de la Polynésie Française (PAP). (online resource).

Fosberg, F. R. 1997. Preliminary checklist of the flowering plants and ferns of the Society Islands. Ed. by David R. Stoddart. U. Cal. Berkeley.

Frohlich, Danielle/Lau, Alex. 2012. New plant records for the Hawaiian Islands 2010-2011. In: Evenhuis, Neal L. and Eldredge, Lucius G., eds. Records of the Hawaii Biological Survey for 2011. Part II: Plants. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers. 113:27-54.

Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. 2010. Checklist of the vascular plants of Pohnpei with local names and uses. Allertonia, in press. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 146 pp.

Little, Elbert L./Woodbury, Roy O./Wadsworth, Frank H. 1974. Common trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, vol. 2. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook No. 449. 1024 pp.

Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy. 2010. Checklist of the plants of Kosrae. Unpublished checklist. National Tropical Botanical Garden, Lawai, Hawai‘i. 26 pp.

McCormack, Gerald. 2013. Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga.

Space, James C./Lorence, David H./LaRosa, Anne Marie. 2009. Report to the Republic of Palau: 2008 update on Invasive Plant Species. USDA Forest Service, Hilo, Hawai‘i. 227 pp.

Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral/Imada, Clyde T. 2000. Survey of invasive or potentially invasive cultivated plants in Hawai‘i. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers No. 65. 35 pp.

U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. 2013. National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Online searchable database.

Vander Velde, Nancy. 2003. The vascular plants of Majuro Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. Smithsonian Institution, Atoll Research Bulletin No. 503:1-141.

Whistler, W. A. 2000. Tropical ornamentals: a guide. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. 542 pp.

Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. 1999. Botanical survey of the United States of America Kwajalein Atoll (USAKA) Islands. Prepared for Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education and the U. S. Army Environmental Center. 111 pp.


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This page was created on 21 OCT 2004 and was last updated on 29 APR 2013.