Plants herbs, shrubs, or trees, sometimes succulent, dioecious or monoecious, often with latex. Leaves alternate, opposite, or whorled, simple, lobed or compound, with or without stipules. Inflorescences various, flowers sometimes aggregated into pseudanthia (cyathia). Flowers unisexual, small, usually radially symmetric, 3-6-merous, often without petals; disc usually present. Staminate flowers with 1-many stamens, the filaments free or united. Pistillate flowerswith superior, 1-4(-20) (usually 3)-celled ovaries, with 1-2 ovules per cell; styles 1-4(-20), usually 3, free or united, branches bifid or laciniate. Fruits usually schizocarpic capsules, rarely drupes, capsules with 3-mericarps separating elastically from the persistent columellas and opening ventrally to release the seeds. Seeds usually with a caruncle at the micropylar end, usually with copious endosperm; embryos straight.
Euphorbiaceae is a family of about 300 genera and 5000 species that is almost cosmopolitan in its distribution but best represented in tropical and subtropical regions.