Plants photographed elsewhere in Namibia (not on Kyffhäuser)
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Euphorbia hamata (Haw.) Sweet

Euphorbia hamata


Family: Euphorbiaceae
Full name: Euphorbia hamata (Haw.) Sweet
Location: near Grillenthal, SE of Luederitz (2615CD)
ID status: Fairly certain
Afrikaans common name(s): Olifantsmelkbos, Beesmelkbos, Beeskrag
English common name(s): Elephant's milk-bush
Synonym(s): Dactylanthes hamata Haw.
Euphorbia cervicornis Boiss. fide World Checklist & Bibliogr. Euphorbiaceae, vol 2 p 869
Euphorbia peltigera E.Mey. ex Boiss.
Status: Near-endemic
Description: Succulent, bushily branched, sometimes forming large dense masses up to 1 ft. high, unisexual, with an elongated or oblong tuber-like rootstock 1–2 in. (or more) in diam.; branches 3–6 (or when dried 1.5–4) lin. thick, fleshy, somewhat 3-angled, with somewhat distant conical tubercles scattered along them, glabrous, green, becoming grey on the old parts; tubercles 1–8 lin. prominent, horizontally spreading or slightly recurved, bounded by a slight furrow and obtusely 3-ribbed down the decurrent part, bearing leaves when young and after their fall at first somewhat acute, but with age the apex of the tubercle withers and becomes obtusely rounded; leaves 0.333– 0.667 in. long, 0.25– 0.5 in. broad, sessile on the tubercles, ovate, elliptic or lanceolate, obtuse or acute, rounded or broadly cuneate at the base, flat or slightly folded lengthwise, very slightly fleshy, glabrous on both sides, green, soon deciduous; bracts usually 3 in a whorl, forming a cup around a solitary involucre at the apex of the branches and branchlets, 3–5 lin. long, 2–5 lin. broad, usually suborbicular and obtuse and apiculate at the apex, or occasionally broadly ovate and acute, glabrous, apparently yellow or yellowish; involucre sessile, much shorter than the bracts, 2.5–3.5 lin. in diam., unisexual, cup-shaped, glabrous, with 5 glands and 5 fringed lobes; glands distant, probably spreading or deflexed, usually smaller than the lobes, 0.75–1 lin. long and broad, suborbicular, with the outer margin minutely crenulate (not toothed) or entire, and the inner slightly turned up, apparently yellow in some specimens and red in others, possibly changing with age; capsule sessile, 0.25 in. in diam., subglobose, glabrous; styles united into a column 1.5–1.75 lin. long, with short spreading bifid tips; seeds 1.5 lin. long, ovoid, obtuse and with 3 slight radiating keels at the apex, minutely rugulose, grey. (from JSTOR Global Plants website / Flora Capensis)

Attractive, rounded, succulent shrub, up to 450 mm high, much-branched from base. Branches 6-13 mm in diameter, obscurely 3-angled, with distinctive fleshy, conical, often recurved tubercles that carry sessile, folded leaves when young; tubercles sharp just after leaves fall, becoming progressively blunter with age. Inflorescence sessile, solitary, terminal cyathium, carried above showy yellowish to reddish bracts forming a cup-like structure. Glands yellow, sometimes tipped red, with fringed margin. Flowering winter to spring. Capsules sessile, about 6 mm in diameter when mature, subglobose, smooth. This species, which occurs in south-western Namibia and the Northern and Western Cape Provinces of South Africa, is usually found on rocky koppies and would make an attractive subject for succulent rockeries, as it does well in cultivation. In areas outside Namibia it has been observed that cattle browse it. (from Wildflowers of the southern Namib by Coleen Mannheimer)
Link(s) African Plant Database
JSTOR Plant Science
Kew Herbarium Catalogue
BGBM Berlin-Dahlem - Virtual Herbarium
Züricher Herbarien
iNaturalist (Namibia / Alex Dreyer)
iNaturalist (Namibia)
iNaturalist (southern Africa)
Flora of Zimbabwe
Fleurs de notre Terre - Galerie Namibie
Tree Atlas of Namibia
Photographer: M Weigand
Date of photograph: 12 Feb 2020
Camera make: samsung
Camera model: SM-G975F
Lens aperture: f/2.4
Shutter speed: 1/1968 s
ISO speed: 50
Content last updated: 18 Apr 2024

Note: The identification of some of the plants on this website is not 100% certain. Any comments will be highly appreciated. I would also be willing to supply higher resolution images upon request. Please contact me at the e-mail address given below.

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Last updated 18 Apr 2024

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