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Poinsettia

Botanical Name:

Euphorbia pulcherrima

Common Name:

Poinsettia,Bird-of-Paradise Flower,Christmas Flower,Christmas Star,Fire on the Mountain,Fire Plant,Lobster Flower,Mexican Easter Flower,Mexican Flameleaf,Painted Leaf,Pride of Barbados,Nochebuena,Euphorbia,Flame-Leaf Flower

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Description

Scientific illustration of E. pulcherrima, ca. 1880 Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6–4 metres (2–13 ft). The plant bears dark green dentate leaves that measure 7–16 centimetres (2.8–6.3 in) in length. The colored bracts—which are normally flaming red, with cultivars being orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled—are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but are actually leaves. The colors of the bracts are created through photoperiodism, meaning that they require darkness (at least fourteen hours at a time for 6–8 weeks in a row) to change color. The plants also require abundant light during the day for the brightest color.The flowers of the poinsettia are unassuming and do not attract pollinators. They are grouped within the cyathia (small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, or false flowers). Nothing is known about pollination in wild poinsettias, though wasps are noted to occasionally visit the cyathia.

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Taxonomy

Order

Euphorbiales

Family

Euphorbia - Spurges

Genus

Euphorbia

Characteristics

Bloom Time

Winter, Spring

Plant Type

Shrubs, Shrub, Houseplant

Lifespan

Woody

Flower

Cup-shaped inconspicuous tiny yellow "flowers" cluster above the showy red, pink, or cream leafy bracts. A large yellow gland appears on the rim of the "flower". Seasonal bloomer but most often grown to bloom in winter through spring.

How to Grow

Water

Average, Mesic

Sunlight

Full Sun, Partial Sun, Full Sun to Partial Shade, Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day), Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)

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