Mexican Fireplant Plant Information
Mexican Fireplant grows in the following 30 states:Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
Euphorbia heterophylla, also known under the common names of (Mexican) fireplant,painted euphorbia,Japanese poinsettia,desert poinsettia, wild poinsettia, fire on the mountain, paintedleaf,painted spurge,milkweed, and kaliko plant, is a plant belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family.
It is a native plant of Mexico, and its original distribution includes an area spreading from California to east Texas and to much of Central America.
This plant has been introduced to South and Southeast Asia as an Ornamental plant, having become a weed in India and Thailand, where it has invaded cotton fields and other agricultural terrain.
It is a hardy, ruderal species, growing between 30 and 70cm in height. The leaves at the upper end of the stalk, close to the cyathium, have a striking, scarlet red coloration. Leaves are mainly 2-4 lobed and 4-7cm long by 1.5-3cm wide. Their contrast with the lower dark green leaves gives this euphorbia most of its common names.
The stalk exudes a toxic milky white latex. The cyathia or false flowers, are located in clusters at the head of the stalk and are yellowish green. They have no petals, the red color being part of the young leaves' coloration. The fruits are small, segmented capsules.
This plant often loses its coloration when it grows wild as a weed. It is resistant to herbicide.
Toxicity is documented in most members of the genus Euphorbia. Individuals sensitive to latex are known to have strong reactions, including dermatitis and anaphylaxis, to the latex exuded by this plant.
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