What just happened?

To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


South Africa Landscape

Kew at the British Museum

Admission free  |  West lawn, Museum forecourt

Tree euphorbia

Tree euphorbia

Euphorbia ingens

Euphorbia survive long periods of drought by storing water in their leafless
green stems.

Related object in the collection

Arrow heads, poisoned with euphorbia, and arrow straightener

On display in room 25

The plants contain a milky sap that can be very harmful to people and animals. However if correctly applied it can be used medicinally, and is traditionally employed by the Venda and Sotho people as a treatment for cancer.

When hunting large animals, the San people mixed euphorbia sap with extract from the Diamphidia beetle to poison their arrow tips.

Read more on the collection database


Tree euphorbia © Richard Wilford, Stephen Ruddy, RBG Kew
Arrow heads, poisoned with euphorbia, and arrow straightener © Trustees of the British Museum

Arrow heads


Sponsored by

Barclays logo