Common Name: Large Mediterranean spurge
Euphorbia characias is native to southeastern Europe. When cut, it exudes a milky sap that is a skin irritant and was also used as a purgative (the common name 'spurge' comes from the Latin word for 'purge'.). The genus is named after Euphorbus, a Greek physician who described the medicinal properties of the plant. 'Characias' comes from xaraxias, the ancient name of this species. There are a number of subspecies in our garden, with a large display around the south side of the Maze.