I planted this tree (known as Naboom or umPapha) a few years back not knowing how big it would get.  Turns out, its going to be huge and near impossible to cut down due to its poisonous sap.  Luckily it has room to grow and I find its flowers and berries rather beautiful.  Birds are also very fond of the green fruits.

The plant is traditionally used to treat warts and chronic ulcers.

Naboom branch.
Naboom branch.

Naboom berries.
Naboom berries.

10 thoughts on “Naboooooom!”

  1. sounds dangerous.. is it only the sap that is poisonous..? and the berries? or like syringa berries, birds can handle them?

  2. I love these Euphorbia, they are so sculptural, and really make an impact in the garden. You pipped me to the post literally…I was planning on doing a post about them soon – I think they should be planted in SA gardens far more than they are (well, those gardens that are big enough)!

  3. We’ve got a HUGE one of these in our garden… It is beautiful, but had heard the sap stories too. Hopefully we’ll never have to chop it down. Ross, you must still do a post and tell us about your fascination with them. Good to know its other names Smile…

  4. I’m guessing its the poison that ‘kills’ the warts but maybe this post should come with a “don’t try this at home” warning.


  5. I currently live in the Eastern Cape (the Kei) where the Naboom grows abundantly in the wild. I’m also into beekeeping and know that one should avoid putting your hives near these trees, you will end up with a very poisonous honey that causes severe throat irritation and even hallucinations!!

  6. hey carlos, thanks for the interesting information. who would have thought that this tree could poison your honey?!

    I guess we need to start looking from now on for naboom-free as well as badger-friendly honey 🙂

  7. My kid of 8 years got some of the milk in his throat. And yes he had severe pain and his throat was on fire. I had to rush him to the doctor where he gave me celestamine, and he had to take 2 right away. Some of the milk also got in his eyes. That is even worse. They had to give him local anesthetic drops to stop the pain. So. Keep your kids away from that plant!

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