R. Riina & M.H. Mayfield

  Name:      Euphorbia pulcherrima   Willd. ex Klotzsch, Allg. Gartenzeitung 2: 27. 1834.

Accepted Name:None
Common Names:
poinsettia, flor de pascua, nochebuena.
TOLKIN GUID:0ad559cb-e7a8-4efd-83af-ec9f5651ae48
TOLKIN GUID URL:http://app.tolkin.org/guids/0ad559cb-e7a8-4efd-83af-ec9f5651ae48
Type Details:
Species: None
Type Collection:
Humboldt & Bonpland (B-W 9257)
Type Date:
Type Locality:
Mexico, [s.l.]
Type Herbaria:
Lectotype: B-W 9257 (Designated by Lack 2011).
Neo Type: None
Synonyms: show/hide
Pleuradenia coccinea Raf., Atlantic J. 1: 182. 1833.
Euphorbia poinsettiana Buist ex Giah., Edinburgh New Philos. J. 20: 412. 1836.
Nom illeg
Poinsettia pulcherrima var. albida Maund, Botanist 2: t. 70. 1838.
Euphorbia erythrophylla Bertol., Fl. Guatimal. 19. 1840.
Euphorbia coccinea Willd. ex Boiss., Prodr. 15(2): 71. 1862.
Nom illeg
Euphorbia diversifolia Willd. ex Boiss., Prodr. 15(2): 71. 1862.
Euphorbia lutea Alam. ex Boiss., Prodr. 15(2): 72. 1862.
Nom illeg
Euphorbia fastuosa Sessé & Moç., Pl. Nov. Hisp. 81. 1888.
Euphorbia pulcherrima f. lutea Standl., Publ. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Bot. Ser. 22: 151. 1940.
Poinsettia pulcherrima (Willd. ex Klotzsch) Graham, Edinburgh New Philos. J. 20: 412. Jan. 1836.
Ingroup Clade:
This description is based on Mayfield (1997).
"Trees or spreading shrubs, 10 m tall. Roots diffusely taprooted. Stems solitary, to 8 cm thick at the base; branches alternate, divaricate, and ascending, with light gray and warty to lustrous and bronze-colored bark, the growing shoots usually glabrous, less often puberulent. Leaves alternate above the epicotyledonary node; petioles 5-12 cm long, glabrous to puberulent; blades 10-25 cm long, 5-15 wide, broadly elliptic, to pandurate with four shallow, rounded lobes, the bases obtuse to subtruncate, terminating at the petiole junction, with a pair of dark-brown secretory patches flanking the petiole, the apices broadly acute to obtuse, with a broadly rounded tip; upper surfaces glabrate to very sparsely puberulent, glabrous and lustrous-ciliate along the margins; lower surfaces sparsely puberulent; margins entire. Umbels 3-rayed, dense, spreading, flattopped; principal umbel leaves numerous, scattered throughout the umbels, radiating and involucrate, narrowly oblong to elliptic, acuminately tapered to the apex, scarlet pale red below, rarely greenish-white throughout. Cyathia broadly cupulate, 6-8 mm tall, 5-7 mm wide, glabrous; glands solitary, yellow with red at the apex, ca. 4.5 mm tall, ca. 5 mm wide, the attachment broadly sessile, the opening oblong; involucral lobes rounded, divided into numerous linear lobules. Staminate flowers 25-30 per fascicle. Pistillate flower pedicel elongating to ca. 10-12 mm; ovaries glabrous, green with red along the center; style branches ca. 8-10 mm long, deeply bifurcate, the lobes recoiled. Capsules broadly oblong, green tinged with red to yellowish-brown. Seeds cylindriform, apiculate, rotund, 8-9 mm tall, ca. 6-7 mm wide, ca. 6-7 mm thick; surface gray to fuscous, completely smooth; caruncles obsolete; caruncular facet obsolete, or slightly flattened."
Dry forest. Also in disturbed sites along rivers, roads, steep mountain slopes, forest gaps and ecotones.
Phylogenetic Relationships:
The species is most closely related to Euphorbia cornastra (Yang et al. 2012).
Northern Guerrero Province in Mexico has been found to be the ancestral area of E. pulcherrima (cultivated poinsettia) (Trejo et al. 2012). See also www.explorelifeonearth.org/poinsettia.html
Chromosome Number:
2n= 28, 56 (Mayfield, 1997).
Ornamental. Widely cultivated and commercialized as potted plant.
Toxicity: None
Conservation Status:
Euphorbia pulcherrima has apparently escaped widely in the tropics, having become a problem pest at least in parts of Africa, India, and the Canary Islands (Mayfield, 1997).
General Distribution:
Mexico to Central America: Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama. Introduced and cultivated in many countries.
Collection number
Institution code
Carrillo-Reyes, P.
Van Devender, T.R.
Wurdack, K.J.
U.S.A. (in cultivation).
DNA Sample(s): 6302
DNA Sample(s) Sequences

Lack, H.W. (2011). The discovery, naming and typification of Euphorbia pulcherrima (Euphorbiaceae). Willdenowia 41, 301-309.

Mayfield, M.H. (1997). A systematic treatment of Eupborbia subgenus Poinsettia (Eupborbiaceae). Ph.D. dissertation, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.

Trejo, L., Feria Arroyo, T.P., Olsen, K.M., Eguiarte, L.E., Arroyo, B., Gruhn, J.A., and Olson, M.E. (2012). Poinsettia’s wild ancestor in the Mexican dry tropics: Historical, genetic, and environmental evidence. American Journal of Botany 99, 1146-1157.

Yang, Y., Riina, R., Morawetz, J.J., Steinmann, V.W., Haevermans, T., Aubriot, X., and Berry, P.E. (2012). Molecular phylogenetics and classification of Euphorbia subgenus Chamaesyce (Euphorbiaceae). Taxon 61(4), 764-789.

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