The flowers spring in branching spadices from the axils of the leaves, and as the trees are unisexual it is necessary in cultivation to fertilize the female flowers by artificial means.
The buds are not unlike those of the ash; and it frequently happens that in the axils of the leaves, instead of one, several buds may be formed.
They are fleshy shrubs, with rounded, woody stems, and numerous succulent branches, composed in most of the species of separate joints or parts, which are much compressed, often elliptic or suborbicular, dotted over in spiral lines with small, fleshy, caducous leaves, in the axils of which are placed the areoles or tufts of barbed or hooked spines of two forms. The flowers are mostly yellow or reddish-yellow, and are succeeded by pear-shaped or egg-shaped fruits, having a broad scar at the top, furnished on their soft, fleshy rind with tufts of small spines.
bulbiferum and its allies produce aerial reproductive bulbils in the axils of the leaves.
Laureola, spurge laurel, a small evergreen shrub with green flowers in the leaf axils towards the ends of the branches and ovoid black very poisonous berries, is found in England in copses and on hedge-banks in stiff soils.