This family has worldwide distribution. Most of its plants are xerophytes.They are found in deserts. Some species are common in tropical areas.
Economic Importance of Euphorbiaceae:
- Source of food: The plant Montt:at gives starchy food from its tuberous roots.
- Oils: Some plants give wood oil, artist oil and other drying oils. These oils are used in paints. These oils are extracted from the seeds of several species.
- Poisons: The milky juice of many plants like Mercuriolis has deadly poisons. Some are very dangeous for stomach. Some can cause blindness of eyes, Therefore, these poisons are used for murder and suicides. These are also used to kill some insects.
- Medicinal uses:The fruit of Phyllanthus emblica has many medicinal uses.
- Rubber: Several species of Hevea, Man/hot gives common rubber in their latex.
- Ornamental plants: The plants of this family have attractive colours. So they am commonly used as ornamental plants. Examples: Euphorbiu splenclens. Euphorbia pulcherrima,castor bean.
- Dyes:Chrozophora gives dye.
Affinities of Euphorbiaceae:
Bentham and Hooker have included nine families in the series Unisexuales. They are Euphorbiaceae, Balanopseae, Urticaceae, Plantanaceae, Leitnerieae, Juglandeae, Myricaceae, Casuarineae and Cupuliferae. Hallier included the family Euphorbiaceae in his Passionales, Rendle and Hutchinson placed the family in the order Euphorbiales.