Euphorbia virosa (Pictures 627 and 629)

Euphorbia virosa (Willd) is a vigorous shrub with maximum growth of about 3 meters high. Distribution is from the Orange river to the north of Namibia and South Angola.

The stem is divided into large numbers of branches 50-60 mm thick and segmented in joints 70-90 mm length. The flowers are produced mostly at the end september, and beginning of october. The photo of this plant was taken on september 30th in 1996 and the plant was just starting producing flower-buds as you can see on the close-up photo.

This plant was growing in Namibia, Schwakopmund, near Kuiseb-valley. The local name is "Gifboom", which means "poisened tree". It grows in the driest and hottest parts of South-Africa and in Namibia in the same places also grows Euphorbia avasmontana but E.virosa is more common. Virosa means "bad smell" and in Kaokoland in Namibia the white juice of virosa is mixed with that of Adenium boehmiammum and used as an arrow-poison to hunt small animals.