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Painted Leaf Euphorbia heterophylla var. cyathophora

Previously known as:

  • Euphorbia barbellata
  • Euphorbia cyathophora
  • Euphorbia graminifolia
  • Euphorbia havanensis
  • Euphorbia heterophylla var. barbellata
  • Euphorbia heterophylla var. graminifolia
  • Poinsettia barbellata
  • Poinsettia cyathophora
  • Poinsettia graminifolia
  • Poinsettia havanensis
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

A member of the spurge family, and a close cousin of our ever popular Poinsettia, Wild Poinsettia is a short-lived annual native to North and South America.  Although it is cultivated for consumer use, it is considered a weed by many.  Its natural habitat includes disturbed sites, waste areas, roadsides, creek banks and plantation cropland.  

The inconspicuous flower cyathia (cup-like structure containing several flowers) sit at the tips of the branches on its own stalk.  The cyathia cluster can have a diameter of 1.5", while individual cyathium (flowers that make up the cyathia) is less than 1/10" wide.  Both male and female flowers are produced within each structure.  Several are male, while only one female is present.  There are also one or two kidney-shaped structures within the flower that contain nectar.  

When mature, the seed capsules pop open to spread the seed.  

Many of its common names come from the upper leaves appearing to have been hand painted.  The leaves are opposite towards the plant base, alternate along the majority of the stem, and again opposite on the upper portion of the stems and branches.   The leaves, as well as the stems, produce a milky latex sap when damaged or broken.  The leaves vary in shape, different shaped leaves can appear on a single plant.

Many herbivores avoid this plant, as the milky sap can cause irritate the lining of their mouths and digestive tracts.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Can be weedy and high maintenance. All parts of the plant are poisonous when ingested, and the milky substance that is present when the leaves or stems are broken can cause skin irritation.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#showy leaves#dwarf#high maintenance#herbaceous#milky sap#native wildflower#native annual#larval host plant#herbaceous annual#native#host plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#weed#wildlife plant#weedy#nectar plant#showy leaves#dwarf#high maintenance#herbaceous#milky sap#native wildflower#native annual#larval host plant#herbaceous annual#native#host plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Euphorbia
    Species:
    heterophylla
    Family:
    Euphorbiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Tropical North America, Central America and South America
    Distribution:
    AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NM, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees, butterflies and flies are attracted to the flowers. The flea beetle Glyptina cyanipennis and it is a larval host plant to Pygarctia spraguei moths.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    No parts of the plant are edible. Poisonous.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Maintenance:
    High
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit is a 3-lobed capsule having 3 inner compartments. Each compartment contains a single tiny egg-shaped seed.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Insignificant
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Sitting at the tips of the branches are inconspicuous greenish flowers. They are inconspicuous, cup-like structures with several tiny male flowers and one female flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Linear
    Oblanceolate
    Obovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves can be a showy fiddle-shaped, oval or egg-shaped. The upper leaves are dark green and usually red toward the base. The leaf underside is a lighter green. While the underside may have a minimal amount of hairs, the upper leaf is hairless.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    The lower branch is usually unbranched. When damaged or broken, a milky sap is present. If present, the side branches are often produced in pairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Can irritate the skin or eyes when contact is made with the milky sap in the stems. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Oil and saponic glycoside
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Stems