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Painted Leaf Euphorbia cyathophora

The range distribution maps for the Painted Leaf are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The Painted Leaf, also called Wild Poinsettia (Poinsettia cyathophora), is a Florida native plant found throughout the state.  It is also found throughout much of the United States. It is found in a variety of habitats, including hammocks, pinelands, clearings, and disturbed areas, such as roadsides and forest margins.  They bloom year-round.

The leaves can vary in shape from broad and lobed to narrow and grass-like.  They are located at the top of the plant along with flat clusters of very small greenish flowers.  These clusters may vary in size from 0.25 to 1-inch. Each cluster contains several very small flowers, each about 0.1 to 0.2 inch in diameter.  The flowers aren’t very colorful, but they are surrounded by leaf-like greenish bracts with reddish-orange bases that look like they were painted on.  These bracts look like flower petals, but aren’t. Please note that this plant has a poisonous milky sap that can irritate human skin.

Butterflies are attracted to the small flowers.  This plant also serves as a host plant for the Ello Sphinx Moth.