Random Plant: Fire on the mountain

Fire on the mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora, Euphorbiaceae) photographed 04/10/2012 on Matecumbe Key, Florida.

I came across this plant on Matecumbe Key in Florida a couple of months ago. I hadn’t got around to identifying it, but while thumbing through a field guide the other day I accidentally stumbled across it. It seems most commonly known as fire on the mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora, Euphorbiaceae), but has a host of other common names including wild poinsettia, dwarf poinsettia, false poinsettia, Mexican poinsettia, Mexican fire plant, and painted-leaf spurge.

This plant has leaves that are extremely variable in size and shape.  They can appear thin and grass-like as with this specimen, broad and fiddle-shaped, or anything in between. The red blazes are on the surfaces of young, bract-like leaves; they’re not part of the flowers. The flowers themselves are the inconspicuous green structures in the center.

Fire on the mountain (Euphorbia cyathophora, Euphorbiaceae) photographed 04/10/2012 on Matecumbe Key, Florida.

Native to the southeastern United States southward to northern South America, fire on the mountain has been introduced in many new areas as an ornamental. It spreads readily, however, and has since become invasive throughout the Pacific and southeast Asia.

Advertisements

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Random Plant and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s