Leafless Milk Hedge or Leafless Euphorbia also called Thor Danda is not a name that you will like, instantly. Sounds a little odd? Thor plant in English is called Euphorbia Caducifolia. I have run into this plant many times while trekking in Jaipur.
Most people consider it a cactus. When I started searching for more information about this plant I found that it is succulent from a plant family called Euphorbia.
Euphorbia is a genus of flowering plants in the Euphorbiaceae family containing around 2,000 species. It is supposed to be one of the most diverse groups of flowering plants on the planet. Euphorbia is also called Spurge and produces white latex-like substance when cut. They are found in temperate zones worldwide often resembling the cacti family. Cacti or Cactus does not produce a white milky substance.
Euphorbia Caducifolia is known by many local names like Thor/ Thhor/ Danda-Thor. It is also known as leafless Milk Hedge as well as Leafless Euphorbia.
what is special about Euphorbia Caducifolia?
It is a tall multi-stem plant occurring in Thar desert as well as hilly tracts across Aravali hills. This plant covers complete hillock often growing to a humongous size.
They appear in areas that undergo a dry season followed by monsoon rains. It produces a small red-pink flower. It looks beautiful with these flowers in full bloom.
Benefits of Danda Thor
Leafless Milk Hedge is an important part of local ecology often providing shelter for the small reptiles. Here is a picture of Thor Danda from Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan.
The plant is supposed to have medicinal uses too. Recent claims suggest its use in generating bio-fuel and as a cure for leukemia disease.
The plant has the ability to adapt itself to local conditions, therefore, it is quite hardy and resistant.One should avoid coming in contact with the white milky substance as it can be an irritant for the skin and eyes. If you do come in contact with its latex-like white substance, wash immediately.
Thor or leafless Milk Hedge is increasingly put in use for ornamental or beautification purposes – landscaping in urban areas. But in my opinion, they are best suited in their natural habitat –Aravali hills or Thar desert.
Nature is beautiful and has so many unique creations. All species have a well-defined purpose. Even though I have seen it many times over the last few years, it was only recently I stumbled upon its name leafless Milk Hedge. Like others, I also assumed this as one of the cacti variants. Similar to Anogeissus Pendula or Dhok tree, this is a resident plant of Aravali Hills. I wrote about Anogeissus Pendula almost two years ago, I’m sure most of the readers must have missed reading this post. Have you ever seen Euphorbia caducifolia.?
Check out other stories in the Trees of Jaipur.