Euphorbia heterophylla L.

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Euphorbia heterophylla

Photo: Bart Wursten
Twentydales Ext, Epworth, Harare

Euphorbia heterophylla

Photo: Bart Wursten
La Rochelle, kopje behind hotel

Euphorbia heterophylla

Photo: Petra Ballings
Shareragh rd, Mandara, Harare

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Synonyms: Euphorbia geniculata Ortega
Poinsettia heterophylla (L.) Klotzsch & Garcke
Common names: Mexican fire plant (English) Painted Euphorbia (English)
Frequency: Common
Status: Introduced
Erect annual, up to 60 cm.
  • Carter & Leach in FZ 9(5): 363 remark that in Africa this species shows very little of the irregularity in leaf shape which gives this species its name.
  • This species, together with E. pulcherrima and E. cyathophora belong to section Poinsettia
  • The leaves of this species are often attacked by an orange rust Melampsora euphorbiae (Schub.) Cast.
Derivation of specific name: heterophylla: with differently-shaped leaves (see note above)
Habitat: Disturbed places
Altitude range: (metres) 1500 m
Flowering time:Nov - Mar
Worldwide distribution: Pantropical weed, originating from Central America.
Zimbabwe distribution: N,W,C,E,S
Growth form(s):
Endemic status:
Red data list status:
Insects associated with this species:
Spot characters: Display spot characters for this species
Images last updated: Monday 25 May 2009

Drummond, R.B. (1984). Arable Weeds of Zimbabwe Agricultural Research Trust of Zimbabwe, Harare Pages 48 - 49. (Includes a picture).

Kirby, G. (2013). Wild Flowers of Southeast Botswana Struik Nature, Cape Town South Africa Page 351. (Includes a picture).

Pickering, H. & Roe, E. (2009). Wild Flowers of the Victoria Falls Area Helen Pickering, London Page 62. (Includes a picture).

Setshogo, M.P. (2005). Preliminary checklist of the plants of Botswana. Sabonet Report no. 37. Sabonet, Pretoria and Gaborone Page 57.


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Other sources of information about Euphorbia heterophylla:

Our websites:

Flora of Botswana: Euphorbia heterophylla
Flora of Malawi: Euphorbia heterophylla
Flora of Mozambique: Euphorbia heterophylla
Flora of Zambia: Euphorbia heterophylla

External websites:

African Plant Database: Euphorbia heterophylla
Biodiversity Explorer (Biodiversity of southern Africa): Euphorbia heterophylla
EOL (Encyclopedia of Life): Euphorbia heterophylla
ePIC (electronic Plant Information Center): Euphorbia heterophylla
Flora Zambesiaca web site: Euphorbia heterophylla
Google: Web - Images - Scholar
GRIN (Germplasm Resources Information Network) taxonomy for plants report for Euphorbia heterophylla
IPNI (International Plant Names Index): Euphorbia heterophylla
Ispot Southern Africa : Euphorbia heterophylla
JSTOR Plant Science: Euphorbia heterophylla
Kew Herbarium catalogue: Euphorbia heterophylla
Tropicos: Euphorbia heterophylla
West African Plants database: Euphorbia heterophylla

Copyright: Mark Hyde, Bart Wursten, Petra Ballings and Meg Coates Palgrave, 2002-16

Hyde, M.A., Wursten, B.T., Ballings, P. & Coates Palgrave, M. (2016). Flora of Zimbabwe: Species information: Euphorbia heterophylla., retrieved 28 May 2016

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