The Majestic African Milk Tree

The ‘Milk’ part of this plant’s name comes from the fact that it produces a milky-looking sap that is contained in its stems.

All plants within the Euphorbiaceae family actually produce white latex sap when they are cut. Note that this sap is toxic and irritating to the skin, so keep it out of reach of pets and children.

You should be sure to use gloves to protect yourself if you’re going to be handling your African Milk Tree. This will also help protect your hands from this plant’s cactus-like thorns.

In India, the sap is used in a mix that is applied to new blades on knives and axes in order to help sharpen them. Another interesting use of the African Milk Tree is in tropical Africa, where this plant is used ceremonially and is planted as part of some rituals.

African Milk Trees can live to a very old age. They’ve even been known to still be able to flower at 60 years old!

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