Underground Spurge

Scientific Name
Euphorbia hypogaea Marloth
Higher Classification
Common Names
Underground Spurge (e)
National Status
Status and Criteria
Least Concern
Assessment Date
L. von Staden
Euphorbia hypogaea is a widespread but poorly known and rarely recorded species, with an extent of occurrence (EOO) of 6 199 km². It is suspected to be under-sampled, rather than rare or threatened. It is listed as Least Concern.
South African endemic
Provincial distribution
Northern Cape, Western Cape
This species is endemic to South Africa, and occurs between Fraserburg and Victoria West in the southern Great Karoo.
Habitat and Ecology
Major system
Major habitats
Eastern Upper Karoo, Upper Karoo Hardeveld, Western Upper Karoo
It occurs on flats with karroid shrubs, usually under or alongside the shelter of bushes.
Euphorbia hypogaea is potentially threatened by illegal collection for the specialist succulent trade. Its distribution range also falls within an area earmarked for future shale gas extraction.

This is a widely distributed, but very rarely recorded species. Plants are cryptic and are usually hidden under larger shrubs, and it is suspected to be overlooked, rather than rare or threatened. Its distribution range is botanically relatively poorly explored.

Population trend
Assessment History
Taxon assessed
Status and Criteria
Citation/Red List version
Euphorbia hypogaea MarlothLeast Concern Raimondo et al. (2009)

Brown, N.E., Hutchinson, J. and Prain, D. 1920. Euphorbiaceae. In: W.T. Thiselton-Dyer (ed). Flora Capensis V Section II (Thymeleaceae-Ceratophylleae):216-516. L. Reeve & Co., Ltd., Ashford.

Raimondo, D., von Staden, L., Foden, W., Victor, J.E., Helme, N.A., Turner, R.C., Kamundi, D.A. and Manyama, P.A. 2009. Red List of South African Plants. Strelitzia 25. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

Snijman, D.A. 2013. Plants of the Greater Cape Floristic Region 2: The extra Cape flora. Strelitzia 30. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria.

White, A., Dyer, R.A. and Sloane, B.L. 1941. The succulent Euphorbieae (Southern Africa) Volume I. Abbey Garden Press, Pasadena.

von Staden, L. 2018. Euphorbia hypogaea Marloth. National Assessment: Red List of South African Plants version . Accessed on 2024/05/18

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Distribution map

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