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Finger euphorbia

Common names: Milk bush, India tree spurge, Pencil tree (NCSU, 1997)
Scientific name: Euphorbia tirucalli
Family: Euphorbiaceae

Plant parts used


Mode of action

Insecticidal, repellent (Prakash; Rao, 1997: p. 180)


Materials  Method of preparation  How to use   Target pests 
Plant extract
(Stoll, 2000: p. 170)

Mature branch
10-liter container
Mortar and pestle

Pound branch finely to
make into a paste.
Leave the paste for sometime
in water.

Make trials on the size and
number of branches for the
strength of the extract

Spray on infested plants thoroughly.
Spray early in the morning
or late in the afternoon.

Citrus aphids
Plant sap extract

10 drops of plant sap
1 liter of water

Cut a branch.
Collect the oozing sap.
Add the sap into the water.

Spray on infested areas.


Standard procedures for the preparation and application of the plant extracts

  1. Select plant parts that are free from diseases.
  2. When storing the plant parts for future usage, make sure that they are properly dried and are stored in an airy container (never use plastic container), away from direct sunlight and moisture. Make sure that they are free from molds before using them.
  3. Use utensils for the extract preparation that are not use for your food preparation and for drinking and cooking water containers. Clean properly all the utensils every time after using them.
  4. Do not have a direct contact with the crude extract while in the process of the preparation and during the application.
  5. Make sure that you place the plant extract out of reach of children and house pets while leaving it overnight.
  6. Harvest all the mature and ripe fruits before plant extract application.
  7. Always test the plant extract formulation on a few infested plants first before going into large scale spraying. When adding soap as an emulsifier, use a potash-based one.
  8. Wear protective clothing while applying the extract.
  9. Wash your hands after handling the plant extract.

Effect on humans

The sap causes minor irritation to the skin (NCSU, 1997). Take extra care while handling the sap as redness, swelling, or blisters might occur on sensitive skins.

Effect on non-target organisms

In Tanzania, the plant is used as fish poison and as ant and mosquito repellent (Hines; Eckman, 1993).

External links


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