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Euphorbia punicea – Jamaican Poinsettia

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Scientific Name

Euphorbia punicea Sw.

Common Names

Jamaican Poinsettia, Flame of Jamaica, Vegetable Leather, Scarlet-flowered Spurge, Crimson Euphorbia, West Indian Spurge

Synonyms

Adenorima punicea, Euphorbia troyana, Euphorbiodendron puniceum, Euphorbiodendron troyanum, Poinsettia punicea, Tithymalus puniceus

Scientific Classification

Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia

Description

Euphorbia punicea is an unusual, evergreen, succulent shrub that can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 m) tall. The stems are rubbery, semi-succulent, greenish to very pale brown or cream colored with prominent traces of the fallen leaves lining the woody lower branches and trunk. The leaves are dark green, normally evergreen, but seasonal drought and cool temperatures can cause foliage to temporarily drop away. The small, insignificant, golden-yellow flowers are surrounded by a very showy crown of flashy-red petal-like bracts, looking like larger flowers from a distance.

Euphorbia punicea - Jamaican Poinsettia

Photo via purplewhee.blogspot.com

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 10b to 11b: from 35 °F (+1.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Euphorbias are very easy to care for. They require a little pampering to become established, but once they are, they are self-sufficient. In fact, more die from too much care and watering than from neglect.

Euphorbias need well-draining soil and lots of sunlight. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerant wet soil. Unlike most succulents, Euphorbia does not handle long periods of drought well. It may need weekly watering during the summer. Water whenever the soil is dry several inches below the surface. Water deeply, but don’t let them sit in wet soil, which can cause root rot. Add some organic matter or fertilizer to the planting hole. If you are growing them in containers or your soil is poor, feed with a half-strength fertilizer monthly.

Euphorbia can be grown from seed, but they can be difficult to germinate (or even find). It is usually propagated by cuttings. This can be tricky, because of the exuding sap. Rooting hormone is recommended with Euphorbias… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Euphorbia.

Origin

Native to Jamaica.

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