Euphorbia spp.

Picture it...

A sticky plaster capable of self-defence, as well as a source of natural rubber, fish poison and anticancer drugs, forget the multi-tool and make room for Euphorbias in your affections.

1. The main picture shows the herbaceous Euphorbia cyparissias ‘Fens Ruby’ standing in for other members of the Euphorbiaceae  family in the water bowl of a rotary evaporator. This is a really useful part of the laboratory kit, which can be used to evaporate solvents from reaction mixtures at reasonably low temperatures. Removing the solvent is achieved by lowering the pressure in the apparatus with the help of a vacuum pump, which you can just see on the left hand side of the picture. This lowers the boiling point of solvents compared to that at atmospheric pressure, so it evaporates from the reaction mixture, usually in a round bottomed flask attached where the foliage of the Euphorbia sits. The solvent…

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