Crown Of Thorn (Prunus cembra) is a genus of flowering plants native to Europe, Asia and North Africa. There are over 200 species in the genus with the most common being the English ivy (Tradescantia). They grow from 2–20 m high and have long stems up to 5 cm wide. Most species produce small white flowers at their base which mature into yellow berries when ripe. The crown of thorns is one of the most popular ornamental plants in gardens due to its attractive foliage and attractive fruit.
The crown of thorns has been used medicinally since ancient times. Its leaves were traditionally chewed or eaten raw or cooked to treat coughs, colds and other respiratory ailments. The herb was also considered an aphrodisiac and used as a sedative during childbirth.
In the Middle Ages it was believed that eating the leaves of this plant would cause a person’s sexual desire to increase. This effect lasted for several days after ingestion. The leaves were also thought to prevent baldness, and even cure cancer!
Today, many gardeners still use the herb as a mild diuretic, but it is not recommended for anyone under 18 years old. Some people believe that drinking the juice of this plant will make them feel better than taking medicine. Since the leaves of this plant contain trace amounts of cyanide, it should not be taken while pregnant or when there are any problems with the heart or blood.
The crown of thorns is a highly invasive weed in many tropical and subtropical regions. It chokes out other plants by growing over trees and shrubs, which eventually die from lack of light. This makes the crown of thorns a major threat to biodiversity in these areas.
Crown of thorns (Euphorbia milii) is a species of flowering plant in the spurge family. It is also known as Christ thorn, crown of thorns, and milk bush. It is native to south and southwest India, but has been introduced to the rest of the world as a popular greenhouse ornamental plant. The milky sap of this plant is toxic.
Euphorbia milii reaches a height of about 1.5 meters (5 feet), and has spines along the edges of its stems. The plant produces large clusters of white or greenish flowers with dark centers. It is grown for its clusters of bi-colored pink and green berries after the flowers wither.
Other species of Euphorbia also produce poisonous milky or fetid sap, but E. milii is one of the most toxic. The sap causes an allergic reaction in some people, with symptoms including redness and burning of the skin, itching, and hives. Prolonged contact can cause blistering and even second or third-degree burns.
The red sap color comes from a chemical called peaonigrin, which can also cause liver and kidney damage. It could potentially be used to treat cancers that are susceptible to damaging effects of phenols.
Sources & references used in this article:
Thornless blackberries for the home garden by P Carus – 1901 – Open Court
Planting and Pruning Roses by JW Hull – 1973 – books.google.com
Pruning by HF Tate – 1956 – repository.arizona.edu
Fence and barrier plants in warm climates by DL Johnson – Urban and community forestry in the Northeast, 2007 – Springer
Pruning evergreens and deciduous trees and shrubs/1033 (rev. Dec. 1971) by FN Howes – Kew Bulletin, 1946 – JSTOR
Pruning Landscape Trees and Shrubs by FA Giles, WB Siefert – Circular/University of Illinois at Urbana …, 1971 – ideals.illinois.edu
The pruning book by G Meade, DL Hensley – 1998 – 220.127.116.11