Wild Poinsettia
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Wild Poinsettia
aturalized Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Wild Poinsettia, Wild spurge, Lesser Green Poinsettia • Kannada: ಭೇದಿಸೊಪ್ಪು Bhedisoppu • Nepali: दुधी Dudhee, मैतुला झार Maitulaa Jhaar
Botanical name: Euphorbia heterophylla    Family: Euphorbiaceae (Castor family)
Synonyms: Euphorbia geniculata, Euphorbia prunifolia, Poinsettia heterophylla

Wild Poinsettia is an erect annual herb to 1.5 m tall (rarely taller). Stems are hollow, usually with scattered hairs. Leaves are ovate-elliptic to rhomboid, 0.5–5 cm wide, paler toward the base, with margins entire or slightly toothed. It is distinguished by being an erect annual herb, the milky sap, and the leaves on stems alternate below, opposite above, 2–12 cm long. Leaf stalk is 0.5–4 cm long. This plant is often confused with Painted Leaf Poinsettia, but its uppermost leaves are never pink or red at base. Flowers male or female in clusters at the top of the stems, each flower-head (cyathium) with a solitary terminal female flower surrounded by male flowers enclosed in a cup-shaped involucre with a solitary conspicuous gland. Capsule is 3–4 mm long, 5–6 mm wide, hairless, 3-lobed. Seeds warty, brown or grey, mottled, ovoid, 2.5–3 mm long. Flowers attract bees and butterflies. Wild Poinsettia is native to Southern United States to Argentina and the West Indies, and widely naturalized in India.

Identification credit: Prashant Awale Photographed at Seminary hills, Nagpur & Garden of Five Senses, Delhi.

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