Mother's old plant, never identified.


Jo Gandara

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Back in 1996, when she was growing older, Mom gave me her plants that she didn't have the energy to care for.
I can identify a lot of plants but this one has alluded me.

It almost looks like it could be related to a poinsettia. It has white sap. It roots easily. This one is well over 24 years old.

Mom called it a "Redbird bush" but I've never found anything called that.
Once every 5-8 years it gets little "redbird" shaped tiny flowers.

Anyone seen this before?
Thanks.
IMG_20180527_201544.jpg
 

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Jo Gandara

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Looks like I need to pump up some minerals on mine, it rarely blossoms. Now that I can tell what it is, I can feed it properly.
Thanks everyone!
 
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Excellent! Identifying plants is hard for me and I amglad to get close to a bullseye! I read the wiki when I was looking and found these interesting points also:


ToxicityEdit


The roots, stems, and leaves of the plant are known to be toxic.[4][18] These parts of the plant contain euphorbol (a complex terpene) and other diterpene esters.[4][18] These are also known carcinogens.[4][18] The plant's leaves and stems also contain beta-sitosterol, cycloartenone, octacosanol, and oxime, all of which have known medicinal as well as toxic properties.[20]

Even minor amounts (a few drops) of the juice of the Euphorbia tithymaloides root can irritate mucosal membranes.[18] When ingested, the irritation of the mucosal membranes of the stomach and intestines will cause nausea and vomiting.[4][18] Topical application causes skin irritation, inflammation, and even blisters.[4][18] If introduced topically to the eye, severe pain, keratoconjunctivitis, and reduced visual actuity occur.[4][18] Ingesting even a few seeds can cause violent and persistent vomiting and extreme diarrhea.[18]

If latex or root juice gets on the skin, the victim should immediately wash with soap and warm water.[18] If latex or juice gets in the eye, continuous rinsing with fresh water should be the first course of action.[18] Topical steroids are indicated for skin or eye contact.[18]Intravenous fluids are often administered to counteract the fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhea.[18]


Medicinal usageEdit

The root is known to be a powerful emetic.[2][18] A proteolytic enzyme known as pedilanthain can be extracted from the plant's latex, and has been shown in experiments to be effective against intestinal worms and to reduce inflammation when ingested.[18][20] In 1995, a galactose-specific lectin was purified from the plant's latex, and indications are that it might be useful in combatting diabetes mellitus.[21]

In folk medicine, tea has been brewed from the leaves which has been used to treat asthma, persistent coughing, laryngitis, mouth ulcers, and venereal disease.[18] Tea brewed from the root has been used as an abortifacient.[18] The latex has been used topically to treat calluses, ear ache, insect stings, ringworm, skin cancer, toothache, umbilical hernias, and warts.[18] None of these uses has been scientifically verified as effective.[18] In the West Indies, a few drops of the latex is added to milk and used as an emetic.[4]
 

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