Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest genera Albums added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Metalasia, Brabejum and Bauhinia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Trees into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 160 such Albums on genera of South African plants. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added! If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types or the Search Box.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, the Search Box should be used, entering the botanical name of the plant. Most photos and stories on a particular plant are likely to be posted under Genera, (or if there are only few of them, in the conglomerate categories under Types). Habitat, Regions or Parks and Gardens may also contain some material on a species searched for, showing in the list generated when using the Search Box. The latest Parks and Gardens Album is the one on the Quiver Tree Forest.


2. Want to talk about an Album Item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Euphorbia ingens

Botanical name

Euphorbia ingens

Other names

Tree euphorbia, gewone naboom (Afrikaans); nkonde (Tswana);




A small to medium-sized, many-branched and dense tree with rounded crown, up to 10m in height; the shape has been compared to a hot-air balloon

Description of stem

Unlike other euphorbia tree species the branches do not die off as much (and leaving only a small crown), thus resulting in branches at lower level in E. ingens; uneven markings of the discarded branches on the grey lower trunk; smaller branches retain the typical four-angular appearance, young branches are green with irregular whitish marks in the hollows between the spiny ridges, four or occasionally five angled, small spines persist on younger branch ridges

Description of leaves

Absent, photosynthesis occurs in the younger branched stems

Description of flowers

Yellow, unisexual flowers occurring in April and May on the ridges of the terminal or youngest stem segments; pollinated by bees, butterflies and a variety of other insects; unlike several other euphorbias, E. ingens is monoecious, i.e. the male and female flowers occur on the same tree

Desciption of seed/fruit

Fleshy, globose to three-lobed purple capsule of about 1 cm in diameter, appearing up to September

Description of roots




Propagation and cultivation

Transplants easily, also grown from seed, truncheons or cuttings; frost sensitive; best in sandy soil in full sun; fast growing


Fare better in areas with higher temperatures; cope with varying rainfall; drought resistant


The latex is used by the indigenous population for paralysing fresh-water fish in order to capture them; the latex is said to be used as a purgative, in treating dipsomania and cancer; overdoses have reportedly caused patients severe problems; honey from the nectar may cause a burning sensation in the mouth; birds eat the seeds

Ecological rarity

Common, not threatened, although since 2005 more reports of widespread dying off of E. ingens trees has been reported in different areas

Pests and diseases

There may be a recently introduced threat, not yet identified


The milky latex is toxic, causing skin irritation and sometimes blindness


On rocky outcrops, in woodland and often in sandy areas in bushveld


North West; Limpopo; Mpumalanga


South Africa; Mozambique; Swaziland; Botswana; Angola; Zambia; Zimbabwe; Tanzania; Malawi; Kenya


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