It grows on very rocky slopes on hazburgites forming part of open scrub, between 500 and 600 metres above sea level. The plants are annual, biennial or perennial herbs, woody shrubs, or trees with a caustic, poisonous milky latex. The roots are fine or thick and fleshy or tuberous. Many species are more or less succulent, thorny, or unarmed. The main stem and mostly also the side arms of the succulent species are thick and fleshy, 15–91 cm (6–36 in) tall.