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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Euphorbia punicea

Euphorbia punicea

Bryant is the author of today's entry. He writes:

Thank you to Anne Elliott (aka annkelliott@Flickr) for today's image of Euphorbia punicea. Another image of this species was submitted by frequent BPotD contributor 3Point141: Euphorbia punicea, also shared via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool.

Jamaican poinsettia is an evergreen succulent shrub that is native to Jamaica, but has been introduced to other parts of the Caribbean and southeastern United States (mainly Florida). Euphorbia includes an exceptional diversity of species, ranging from cactus-like succulents to the widely cultivated Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia) that is often used for decoration during the December holidays in some parts of the world. To see some examples of the diversity within Euphorbia and the Euphorbiaceae, check out the site of the International Euphorbia Society. Even solely within Euphorbia punicea there is observed to be much morphological variation, see: Rikus van Velduisen. 2006. Some Notes on Euphorbia punicea Swartz and Related Species (PDF). Euphorbia World. 1(3):5-8?.

Euphorbia punicea begins to flower near mid/late December and may continue to do so until around July; the development of flowers is thought to be triggered by slightly shorter days. This species typically grows to 3-5m high (although a few much taller specimens have been described), and is commonly found on rocky limestone soils in its native habitat. The pink structures are bracts, and their bright colouration is triggered by the process of flower initiation. A combination of anthocyanins and flavonols pigment the bracts. Bract colour (from red to pink) in related Euphorbia species has been observed to vary in part with the proportion of anthocyanins to flavonols, see: Stewart, RN et al. 1980. The anthocyanin and flavonol composition of three families of poinsettia colour sports. Journal of Heredity 71:140-142.

6 Comments

Wendy Cutler commented:

Nice to see this again. I wish I could say I recognized it, but I see that I photographed it when I was at Fairchild Botanical Garden in Florida a year ago. Here's a photo of the shrub. The next photo along is the information card. I'm not sure who designated it the 2008 Plant of the Year.

Jean Momberg commented:

Good Morning Botanical Garden,

Presently watching a coral sunrise in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. Bright enough now to gaze at the gardens and get online before the days adventures. An appreticative email from UBC arrived in the night. Much to my delight is shown a flowering Jamaican Poinsettia!

Treasure Beach is in a semi-arid desert of the parish called St. Elizabeth and Pointsettia's flourish in peoples yards and the wild. Particularly the shrub can be found nutured in the yard and the succulant wanders at it's own will.

Yesterday I was exploring the mangroves of the Great Morass of Black River searching for the elusive Jamacian Oyster.

So with that note today I'm motivated to find a flowering Pointsettia among the many type of cactus, now that I know. Thanks for the entry & links. Ja Mon!

Marika Drier commented:

That is a beautiful photograph. Thank you for sharing. I have to say that I am a little jealous of Jean enjoying a coral sunrise and going out in search of interesting plants in Jamaica right now... as the wet, heavy snow falls in Northern Michigan at 12 degrees F! :)
Have a great day all!

Gabriella commented:

very nice, I still have a small plant that I bought at Christmas

elizabeth a airhart commented:

oh my i was born in nj and lived ma
i have lived on the west central coast of fl a very long time

still remember snow flurries turning into 26" of snow over night

this is a lovely plant here in florida
i as amazed when we first moved here to see flowers
that i had only seen in flower shops growing in yards
and in the botanical gardens so pretty at yultide

thank you all bon bon

Doris Wright commented:

Wendy Cutler, thank you for citing this image on the Botany Photo of the day. When I saw that picture I was curious about what the shrub would look like.
DW

Comments are closed.

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