This Euphorbia ledienii plant has branched and shows the occasional stem constriction commonly found in the species. It has four ribs here; there may be as many as seven on a stem.
The species resembles E. caerulescens, a valued fodder plant of the Eastern Cape, commonly known as soetnoors or sweet noors (noors being a colloquial Afrikaans name for spiny euphorbias, signifying a surly attitude, suggested by the many threatening spines; soetnoors thus being an oxymoron). The sweet noors usually has a blue-grey stem colour, which E. ledienii may also adopt, but its thinner stems and fewer thorns do contribute to identification.
E. ledienii is not palatable as E. caerulescens; in fact it may be poisonous to livestock and has earned the Afrikaans name of suurnoors (sour noors); doubly off-putting.
The species is endemic to the Eastern Cape, its distribution from around Uitenhage to Jansenville and the Sundays River area (www.cactus-art.biz; Van Jaarsveld, et al, 2006).