Spurge, or Euphorbia, L. a genus of plants, comprehending 110 species ; 12 being natives of Britain ; the principal of which are the following :
I. The characias, or Red Spurge, grows in woods and hedges, where it flowers in the. month of June. - The pulverized leaves of this plant, if taken in doses of from 15 to 25 grains, operate as a brisk purgative: - its juice, like that of all the other species of the spurge, is so extremely acrid, that it ulcerates every part of the body, with which it comes in contact. Hence, it is never used internally : - but, a single drop put into the cavity of an aching tooth, is said to have; removed the pain, and at the same time destroyed the nerve. This corrosive liquid, however, may, according to Dr. Withering, be applied with safety to warts and corns; as it eradicates them in a very short time.
2. The helioscopia, or Sun-spurge. See Wartwort,
3. The Cyparissias, or Cyprus Spurge, grows in dry woods (at Enville, in Staffordshire), where its yellow flowers blow in May and June. - Goats are exceedingly partial to this herb; and its seeds afford grateful food to pigeons. - The beautiful caterpillar, which is changed into the Spurge-butterfly, derives its nourishment from the leaves of this species.