Euphorbia heterophylla L.
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Mexican fireplant,  more...
[Euphorbia geniculata Ortega,  more]
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Liz Makings  
Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Annual Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Erect annual 30-70 cm tall, beginning to branch ascendingly near base, stems light green, faintly striate, glabrous or essentially so. Leaves: Opposite below, alternate from above first to third nodes to floral whorls, slender petioles .5-3 cm long, often gradually widening to cuneate base to leaf blade, latter ovate, obovate, elliptic, or lanceolate in outline 1-6 cm wide to 10 cm long, bright green above, pale to slightly glaucous beneath, margin entire or shallowly dentate and often lyrately lobed, lobes acutely to obtusely deltoid. Flowers: Floral leaves similar to cauline ones, but some or all have white, pink, or scarlet near base; involucres clustered at tips of branches, 1.5-2 mm high, narrowly campanulate, green and glabrous, bearing a single unappendaged, discoid, sessile gland and deeply fimbriate-dentate lobes which slightly surpass gland. Fruits: Capsules depressed-globose, strongly 3-lobed, 3.5-4.5 mm high, 5-6 mm in diameter, glabrous. Ecology: Found on the margins of streams, washes, and hillsides from 2,500-5,000 ft (762-1524 m); flowers August-October. Distribution: Cosmopolitan, especially at middle latitudes; Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia; southern half of the US; from s CA east to GA and FL; south through MEX to S. Amer. Notes: Distinguished by being a mostly-hairless erect annual that can reach almost a meter in height; leaves are mostly alternate but can be variable in shape, from linear to lobed, but never dentate and are partially colored whitish at the base; the inflorescences do not have petaloid appendages (appear as if lacking petals); glands appearing as small cups; capsules strongly 3-lobed. Ethnobotany: Unknown Etymology: Euphorbia is named for Euphorbus, which derives from eu, good, and phorbe, meaning well-fed, while heterophylla means that the leaves are different on the same plant. Synonyms: Euphorbia geniculata, Euphorbia prunifolia, Poinsettia geniculata, Poinsettia heterophylla Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Patrick Alexander  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Patrick Alexander  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Sue Carnahan  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Stephen Hale  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Eugene, (Gene) Sturla  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Ries Lindley  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Chris Roll  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Sue Carnahan  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Stephen Hale  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Montañez-Armenta, María de la Paz  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Stephen Hale  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
Montañez-Armenta, María de la Paz  
Euphorbia heterophylla image
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Euphorbia heterophylla image
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