FZ volume:9 part:5 (2001) Euphorbiaceae by S. Carter & L.C. Leach
(Search other Kew databases for: Euphorbia pulcherrima)
Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch
in Allg. Gartenzeitung 2: 27 (1834). —F. White, F.F.N.R.: 199 (1962). Type from Central America.
Poinsettia pulcherrima (Klotzsch) Graham
in Edinburgh New Philos. J. 20: 412 (1836).
S: Zomba Distr., lower slopes of Zomba Plateau by Mponda Stream, fl. 26.iv.1980, Brummitt, Masiye & Tawakali 15563 (K; MAL).
Recorded as an established garden escape apparently in this one instance only 1140 m.
Robust shrub to 4 m high, branching from the base; branches stout, softly woody, with pronounced leaf scars.Leaves with a petiole to 5 cm long; stipules modified as conspicuous purplish-brown glands; lamina to c. 20 × 12 cm, ovate or often panduriform, attenuate with rounded tip at the apex, cuneate at the base, pubescent with short crisped hairs especially on the lower surface, dark green above, paler beneath.Cymes terminal, pseudumbellate with 3(4) rays 1–3 cm long, each 3–6-forked.Bracts leaf-like, with a petiole 1–2 cm long, lamina to c. 15 × 4 cm, progressively smaller above, lanceolate, glabrescent, brilliant red.Cyathia 8 × 7 mm, with deeply cup-shaped involucres, glabrous; gland peltate, 3 mm long, funnel-shaped with the opening transversely elliptic 5 mm wide, yellow-rimmed; lobes 5, 4 mm wide, with large irregular rounded marginal teeth.Male flowers: bracteoles 6 mm long, laciniate, pubescent; stamens very many, 8 mm long.Female flower: ovary glabrous, exserted on a reflexed pedicel 1.5 cm or more long; perianth obvious as a thickened rim below the ovary; styles 3.5 mm long, joined for 1.5 mm with spreading deeply bifid apices.Capsule and seeds not seen.
An ornamental shrub often cultivated in gardens in the tropics or as a pot-plant elsewhere.Cultivars have been selected, with bracts in varying shades of red, pink and yellow.