Family comprised of about 230 genera and about 6,550 species with arborescent plants, shrubs, lianas and herbs, distributed across the planet. It is most diverse in tropical and subtropical regions. There is a great variation in the type of species of this family: trees, shrubs or herbs; there are erect, creeping or climbing species with diverse appearance —with dense foliage or cactiform, with or without spines—. The family is represented in North Africa by 3 native genera, in which subshrubs can be found. An Euphorbiaceae native of tropical Africa is Ricinus communis, formerly cultivated for the use of its seeds; nowadays, it is naturalised and widely distributed across North Africa and the rest of the Mediterranean region.

Pax, F., 1890. Euphorbiaceae. in Engler, H.G.A. & Prantl, K.A.E.. Die Natürlinchen Pflanzenfamilien 3(5): 1-119. Leipzig.

Pax, F. & Hoffmann, K., 1931. Euphorbiaceae. in Engler, H.G.A. & Prantl, K.A.E. Die Natürlinchen Pflanzenfamilien. éd. 2, 19 c: 11-233. Leipzig, Berlin.

Vindt, J., 1953. Monographie des Euphorbiacées du Maroc. Première partie (Révision et systématique). Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Chérifien. 6, Série Botanique 2: 1-217. Rabat (Tanger).

Vindt, J. 1960. Monographie des Euphorbiacées du Maroc. Deuxième partie. Anatomie. Travaux de l’Institut Scientifique Chérifien. Série Botanique 19: 1-340. Rabat (Tanger).

Webster, G.L., 1994. Euphorbiaceae : Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 81: 3-32.

Key to genera

1 Plants with white latex. Inflorescences composed of hermaphrodite pseudanthia (cyathia) Euphorbia

1 Plant with neither latex nor cyathia 2

2 Leaves opposite. Ovary with 2 locules Mercurialis

2 Leaves not opposite. Ovary with 3 locules Chrozophora

Updated by: F.J. Pérez García & J.F. Mota Poveda.