Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Lactiferous

If something (or I suppose someone) is lactiferous, then they're producing milk, or a milk like fluid. That makes sense as 'lacto' refers to milk and 'ferous' implies having or forming.

Euphorbias can probably be described as lactiferous as the sap of these plants looks very like milk. Don't go drinking it though, as it's a strong irritant.

18 comments:

  1. You could probably write a story entitled 'Don't lick a euphorbia'.

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  2. In our country people have started saying that euphorbia causes cancer...I have no idea how...milk or leaves or the plant itself.

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    1. If you look hard enough, I expect it's possible to find a story about anything causing cancer, Olivia.

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  3. That's a word I don't ever see myself using. LOL. And yikes, where do those plants grow?

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    1. The ones in the photo are in my garden, Crystal.

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  4. Haven't seen this word used but guessed the meaning because of lactose and lactating!

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  5. Hi Patsy - I'm not keen on those type of plants ... sappy mess, often quite unhealthy for us humans ... it's a good one - but one I'd rather not use! Cheers Hilary

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    1. I like them, Hilary - but I am careful when handling them.

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  6. Never heard of that plant but it would make a good study for a painting. The colours are beautiful. I don't think I would ever use lactiferous, but feel I should widen my vocabulary.

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    1. I'd rather admire the plants than try to slip the word into casual conversation, Maggie.

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  8. This post got me wondering about lettuce. I grow lots of lettuce and I'm always struck by the fact that it also has a milky fluid dripping out. (Hey, now I know this new word, I can say, '...it is also lactiferous.') And so of course I had to Google it, and found the quote, often repeated, that 'Most lactiferous plants are poisonous, except those with compound flowers, which are generally innocent.' The quote is from the early nineteenth century, I think. But this is definitely one of those cases where the proof of the pudding is in the eating, seeing so many people eat lettuce safely.
    I'm a keen vegetable and fruit gardener, so I'm going to be looking further into this. We often eat dandelions in our household, and I think they are lactiferous also. (Ooh, I do love this word.)

    Catherine

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    1. That's interesting, Catherine. I was aware that lettuce and dandelions were lactiferous and edible whereas other lactiferous plants aren't, but hadn't thought of the flowers being different.

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  9. I hope you're remembering these words and using them in your writing, Patsy 😀

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Thanks so much for commenting!