The yellow flowers shoot enthusiastically in all directions. The summer season might be over, but let’s carry on enjoying ourselves! The female flowers are in the middle, surrounded by a group of male flowers. This classic autumn flower is known for its milky sap, which is poisonous and can cause skin irritation, amongst other things. So be careful handling it. The sap of some species is even so powerful that some tribes use it as a poison. Euphorbia (spurge) comprises some 2300 species, so it’s quite a family!
Colours and shapes
It’s not just the sap that makes the flower very special, but also the pseudo-flower surrounded by the bracts. You place this in a vase to fully revel in it. It’s known for this distinctive form of flowering. You can choose from various colours: yellow, orange, red and white.
Spurge does not have any real symbolism, but there are various stories told about it. Hence people the past were afraid that witches could get into their home through cracks. To drive them away, people drank spurge and rubbed it on children’s chests. Obviously you should never do this yourself.
The common name ‘spurge’ is derived from ‘purge’, and refers to the fact that people used to use the sap that exudes from the stems as a purgative (a laxative). The name Euphorbia is derived from Euphorbos, who was the physician of the Mauritanian king Juna II. This is probably also linked to the cleansing effect of some species.