Euphorbia clavarioides has a large distribution area in southern Africa. Plants that attract much attention due to spectacular flowers or unusual growth forms and are also widely distributed, tend to have more common names. This Euphorbia is known as lion's spoor or melkpol in Afrikaans. It also has several earlier scientific names, including E. basutica and E. truncata.
E. clavarioides grows in South African summer rainfall, rocky grassland as well as in Lesotho and Botswana. The pretty yellow cyathia (flowers) may cover much of the visible upper plant surface in summer. Note the small, pointed, fleshy leaves in the centre of stem tops. As soon as the tubercles, the small green bulges on which the leaves grow are formed, the leaves become discoloured as seen here and drop off. White scars are visible on old tubercles where leaves used to be attached.