Well fed?

I could read the dictionary of plant names all day!  This beautiful cushion spruge variety Bonfire has the latin name Euphorbia.  I wondered where it got its name…Here is what I found:

“Euphor’bia: named for Euphorbus, Greek physician of Juba II.  Juba was educated in Rome and married the daughter of Antony and Cleopatra.  He was apparently interested in botany and had written about an African cactus-like plant he had found or which he knew about from the slopes of Mt. Atlas which was used as a powerful laxative.  That plant may have been Euphorbia resinifera, and like all Euphorbias had a latexy exudate. Euphorbus had a brother named Antonius Musa who was the physician to Augustus Caesar in Rome.  When Juba heard that Caesar had honored his physician with a statue, he decided to honor his own physician by naming the plant he had written about after him. The word Euphorbus derives from eu, “good,” and phorbe, “pasture or fodder,” thus giving euphorbos the meaning “well fed.” Some sources suggest that Juba was amused by the play upon words and chose his physician’s name for the plant because of its succulent nature and because of Euphorbus’ corpulent physique.”

According to “Dictionary Plant Names” by Allen Coombes and Calflora’s website (www.calflora.net.)

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