This small ornamental tree is named after a French word meaning ‘coagulated milk’. The caustic milky sap that flows from a cut branch has been employed in folk medicine. It is a native of the West Indies. There is a wild bush variety, P. alba, with white flowers. It hosts a very large caterpillar of the Hawk Moth, (Pseudosphinx tetrio). The caterpillar is very conspicuous with yellow bands on black and having a red head. It feeds on the poisonous sap, thus becoming poisonous to the birds that might eat the caterpillars.
Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!