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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 is locally common and good populations were seen in 2006 and 2007 also in several other localities close to those where it was collected. However, in view of its restricted known area of distribution it should be regarded as Vulnerable VU D1, although at present there are no particular threats to any of the localities.
Euphorbia michaelii is known only from a few, closely situated localities between KebriDehar and Gode in the south-eastern part of the Somali National Regional State (previously Harerge Region) of Ethiopia.
Locally common in Acacia-Commiphora bushland, usually in rocky places on gypsum; 550 – 600 m.
Morphology General Habit
Succulent medusoid perennial with central stem at ground level and lateral spreading stems up to 25 cm long forming dense clumps up to 0.5 m or more in diameter; stems 15 – 28 mm thick, with 8 – 12 ranks of prominent laterally somewhat compressed tubercles 5 – 10 mm apart, pale green
Morphology General Spines
Spine-shields oblong, 5 – 7 × 2.5 – 3 mm, first reddish brown, soon turning whitish; spines solitary, first reddish brown soon turning whitish, 15 – 22 mm long, spreading, stout, c. 1.5 mm thick at the base; prickles 0 – 0.3 mm long
Morphology Leaves
Leaves triangular, fleshy, c. 1.5 × 1.5 mm, soon deciduous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Flowers
Male flowers numerous; bracteoles linear, c. 3 mm long, fimbriate; pedicels c. 4 mm long, glabrous; filaments c. 1 mm long, glabrous; anther lobes c. 0.5 mm long. Female flowers: ovary sessile, glabrous; styles 3, c. 3 mm long, twisted, joined for c. 1 mm at the base, with expanded slightly bifid tips, glabrous
Morphology Reproductive morphology Fruits
Capsule sessile, obtusely 3-lobed, c. 3 × 4 mm, glabrous, pale brown
Morphology Reproductive morphology Inflorescences
Cymes solitary, 1-forked, with stalk and branches becoming pink; stalk up to 6 mm long; branches up to 5 mm long; bracts linear-lanceolate to oblong or ovate, 1.5 – 2 mm long, denticulate at the apex; cyathia bisexual, funnel-shaped, c. 3.4 × 4 mm; glands 5, just touching, almost erect, fleshy, transversely elliptic, 1 – 1.5 × 1.5 – 2 mm, dull reddish or dirty yellow; involucral lobes fan-shaped, c. 1.5 mm long and wide, with laciniate margin
Morphology Reproductive morphology Seeds
Seeds ovoid, c. 2.5 × 1.5 mm, pale grey, closely and shallowly tuberculate, without caruncle
Euphorbia michaelii is related to E. xylacantha Pax in northern Somalia and adjacent parts of Ethiopia (Carter 1993), but differs from this in its thicker stems (15 – 28 mm versus 8 – 15 mm thick), with 8 – 12 (not 5) ranks of tubercles and vestigial 0 – 0.3 mm (not 1 – 3 mm) long prickles. This distinctive species in subgen. Euphorbia was treated as “E. sp. = Gilbert 2296” in Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea (Gilbert 1995), and it is now named after its first collector, my friend and colleague Michael G. Gilbert, Kew. He knew it from sterile plants seen and photographed in the field between KebriDehar and Gode in 1971, as well as from cymes in spirit originating from plants cultivated in Addis Abeba. The species was found again in the same area in May 2006 when only sterile plants were seen, but flowering and fruiting plants were collected in February 2007.
Ethiopia, Somali National Regional State, Harerge, along track from KebriDehar to Gode, Thulin, Kaariye & Wilhelmi 11606 (holotypus ETH; isotypi K, UPS).

Native to:


Euphorbia michaelii Thulin appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Oct 4, 2007 Gilbert, M.G. [2296], Ethiopia 40107.000
Thulin, M. [11604], Ethiopia 77553.000

First published in Kew Bull. 64: 474 (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.


Kew Bulletin

  • Carter, S. (1993). Euphorbia. In: M. Thulin (ed.), Flora of Somalia 3: 306 – 337. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Gilbert, M. G. (1995). Euphorbia. In: S. Edwards, Mesfin Tadesse & I. Hedberg (eds), Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea 2 (2): 331 – 378. Addis Ababa University & Uppsala University.

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.