Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for October 9th, 2011


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Euphorbia cyathophora; click for greater detail.

We’ve had several posts about snow-on-the-prairie and snow-on-the-mountain, two similar species of Euphorbia whose common names refer to the plants’ conspicuous white bracts. Now I’m here to tell you that there’s yet another species in Austin, Euphorbia cyathophora, shown above, whose colorful bracts have led people to call it fire-on-the-mountain. While the fire is accurate enough as a metaphor, the mountain is misleading, because this plant grows in most parts of Texas, whether exalted or lowly. And if the plant makes you think of Christmas, even though we’ve just entered October, the alternate name wild poinsettia may give you solace. (The better-known poinsettia is a relative from Mexico, Euphorbia pulcherrima.) Note the green fruit capsules, which like so many other species in this genus have three clearly delineated compartments in them.

© 2011 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 9, 2011 at 5:23 AM

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