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This species is accepted, and its native range is E. Ethiopia.


Thulin, M. 2009. New species of Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae) from eastern Ethiopia. Kew Bulletin 64: 469. DOI:

This species may well have a wider range, but in view of its very restricted known distribution and the small number of plants seen, it should be regarded as Critically Endangered CR D1. However, at present there are no particular threats to the type locality.
Euphorbia piceoides is known only from the type locality in the south-eastern part of the Somali National Regional State (previously Harerge Region) of Ethiopia, where some 20 individuals of the species were seen.
Open Acacia-Commiphora bushland on the top and slopes of a gypsum hill; c. 320 m.
Morphology General Habit
Tree, up to 4 m tall; trunk simple, mostly entirely covered by the persistent branches, but these may drop off in old individuals to leave the trunk clear at the very base; branches unbranched, fleshy, strongly arched and soon hanging with ascending tips, c. 1 m long, forming an oblong-conical crown, (4 –) 5-angled, 1.5 – 4 cm wide, distinctly winged, constricted at ± regular intervals into ± rhombic to triangular segments 2 – 3 cm long, greyish green; angles straight to shallowly and sinuately toothed with teeth 0.5 – 1 cm apart
Morphology General Spines
Spine-shields contiguous to form a horny margin 2 – 3 mm wide; spines 5 – 25 mm long, up to 2 mm thick at the base, shorter at the constrictions; prickles up to c. 1 mm long; flowering eye sometimes flanked by a pair of secondary spines 0 – 1 mm long
Morphology Leaves
Leaves deciduous, not seen
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Male flowers numerous; bracteoles deeply laciniate, 4 – 5 mm long; pedicels 5 – 6 mm long, glabrous; filaments c. 1.2 mm long, glabrous; anther lobes yellow, c. 0.3 mm long
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Fruits not seen
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Cymes (1 –) 3 – 5 in a horizontal line, glabrous, once forked, 8 – 15 mm long, with stout peduncle and ascending branches; paired bracts sessile, rounded, 1.5 – 2 × 2.5 – 3 mm
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences Cyathia
Cyathia first male only, apparently later bisexual, sessile; involucre cup-shaped, fleshy, c. 5 × 6 mm including glands; glands 5, spreading, fleshy, transversely elliptic, c. 1.5 × 2.5 mm, yellow; involucral lobes fan-shaped, c. 1.5 mm long and wide, with laciniate margin
Euphorbia piceoides, with its numerous hanging branches with ascending tips, from a distance much resembles a Christmas tree. It belongs to subgen. Euphorbia, where its closest relative may be E. adjurana P. R. O. Bally & S. Carter in southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya, a species that in Ethiopia grows at about 1800 m altitude in GamuGofa and Sidamo Regions (Gilbert 1995). E. piceoides differs markedly from E. adjurana in habit by its strongly arching and hanging unbranched branches that are long persistent and cover the trunk except sometimes in old individuals, where the trunk may be left clear at the very base. In E. adjurana the branches are erect to more or less spreading, less arched, branched, and tend to fall off to leave a large proportion of the trunk clear. Furthermore, the branches of E. piceoides are more distinctly segmented with segments 2 – 3 cm (not 5 – 15 cm) long, the spines are up to 25 mm (not up to 15 mm) long, and the cymes are often more than 3 (not 1 – 3) in each flowering eye, and the glands of the cyathia are touching (not separated).
sex Female
Female flowers.
Ethiopia, Somali National Regional State, Harerge, 7 km NNE of Kelafo, Thulin, Kaariye & Wilhelmi 11329 (holotypus ETH; isotypi K, UPS).
Qamadhi (Somali, at type locality).

Native to:


Euphorbia piceoides Thulin appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Thulin, M. [11329], Ethiopia 77552.000 isotype

First published in Kew Bull. 64: 471 (2009)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R.H.A. (2011). World checklist of selected plant families published update Facilitated by the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

Kew Bulletin
Kew Bulletin

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at and
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.