Plants of the Spurge Family are herbs, shrubs or trees, usually with milky juice, which is often poisonous. Many are succulents and cactus-like. The leaves are simple. The flowers have stamens or pistils, not both, and may or may not have petals and sepals. Showy bracts, as in cultivated Poinsettias and Crown-of-thorns, often simulate petals. Rubber comes from a plant in this family as does castor oil and tung oil.
There are over 280 genera of the Euphorbiaceae in the world but only 11 are native to California. (Dale 106).