Wild Poinsettia

Q: One day last month my attention was drawn to a new but attractive little weed that had come up in one of my plant beds and grown to a height of about 15 inches. It has all the characteristics of a miniature poinsettia: shiny bright green stalks and stems; medium green, thin leaves, with wide serrations on the edges, and spaced sparsely along the stems. But the clincher was the little florets at the top of the stems, with fuzzy tiny yellow pollen-bearing nodules, surrounded by small, bright red leaflets, just like a poinsettia “bloom.”

I made a final poinsettia test: I pulled off one of the little leaves and, sure enough, some milky white sap came oozing out of the stalk and out of the end of the leaf which was attached to the stalk. Have you ever seen one of these before?

A: Doesn’t the world become more interesting when you recognize similar plants? You have sharp eyes and a good memory for plant characteristics.

I have some of the plant in my back yard. It’s called wild poinsettia, Euphorbia heterophylla. Some gardeners consider it ornamental, some treat it as a weed.

I’ll let you decide what to do with it.

Wild Poinsettia

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