Ascension Spurge
Euphorbia origanoides

This species is one of the few plants endemic to Ascension Island. It is easily recognized and attractive, though also poisonous. When actively growing it forms dome-shaped, bushy plants, up to one metre across and about half a metre high. The stems are crimson and the leaves are about 10 mm long, oval and with finely saw-toothed edges; they are stalkless and form in pairs at regular intervals on the stem. The flowers are small and yellowish, and are borne in terminal and often paired clusters. This plant has the typical milky juice of the spurges. Be careful, as the juice is said to cause blindness if it gets in the eyes. This important species is now very scarce. The only healthy colonies we have seen are on South Gannet Hill (where it flourishes on cinders disturbed by road building) and south of Hummock Point, but small groups of individuals are present in several other places. The colonies near Cross Hill suffer from the introduced cottony cushion scale insect Icerya purchasi.