Euphorbia trigona
A potted Euphorbia trigona
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Rosids
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
E. trigona
Binomial name
Euphorbia trigona

Euphorbia trigona (also known as African milk tree,[1]cathedral cactus,[1]Abyssinian euphorbia,[2] and high chaparall[3][4][dubious ]) is a perennial plant that originates from Central Africa.


It has an upright stem and number of branches that also grow upward. The stem and branches can have two or three sides. The stem itself is dark green with V-shaped light green patterns. The 5 mm (14 in) thorns occur in pairs on the stem's ridges. The drop shaped leaves grow from between the two thorns on each ridge. The plant has never been known to flower,[5][6] and is possibly a hybrid.[6]


The trigona can withstand brief cold temperatures of down to −3 °C (27 °F). It prefers sandy soil but can withstand most types of well-drained soil. It can root easily from stem cuttings, if allowed to dry for 3–7 days before planting so that it can form a callus and not rot. It grows to a height of 1.5–3 m (4 ft 11 in–9 ft 10 in).


As with many other Euphorbia species, the latex from the plant is poisonous and can cause skin irritations.[6] It is a pest-free plant. A problem that some trigonas face is that they are susceptible to falling over when fully grown because of their shallow and small root system [7]


The plant is only known in human cultivation and is commonly used as a house plant.[6] It is used as a ritual plant and a hedge in Gabon.[6]


  1. ^ a b Timothy K. Broschat, Alan W. Meerow. Betrock's Reference Guide to Florida Landscape Plants. Betrock Information Systems, 1991. p. 123. ISBN 9780962976100
  2. ^ Thomas C. Fuller. Poisonous Plants of California. University of California Press, 1986. p. 372. ISBN 9780520055698
  3. ^ (in Swedish)
  4. ^ http://www.krukvä (in Swedish)
  5. ^ James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey. The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass. Cambridge University Press, 2011. p. 498. ISBN 9780521761550
  6. ^ a b c d e Medicinal Plants, Volume 1. PROTA, 2008. p. 260. ISBN 9789057822049
  7. ^ FLEURS TROPICALES DES JARDINS D'AFRIQUE, Miller, Euphorbia trigona, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-03-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links