Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Summer Poinsettia, Mexican Fire Plant
Euphorbia cyathophora

Family: Euphorbiaceae (yoo-for-bee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Euphorbia (yoo-FOR-bee-uh) (Info)
Species: cyathophora (sigh-uh-THO-for-uh) (Info)

20 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Chartreuse (Yellow-Green)

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Euphorbia cyathophora by Floridian

By Floridian
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By Terry
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By Floridian
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By MizD
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There are a total of 21 photos.
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6 positives
12 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Tropicalfish12 On Jul 23, 2014, Tropicalfish12 from Fernandina Beach, FL wrote:

A beautiful plant with a fiery red center. I planted 4 seedlings about 2 years ago and they have grown like weeds ever since.

Positive ilovejesus99 On Apr 30, 2011, ilovejesus99 from Baytown, TX (Zone 9b) wrote:

I absolutely love this plant. It is very showy when mature and the center is red.

Neutral Adrastia217 On Mar 16, 2011, Adrastia217 from Davie, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

i always find this plant growing by the dania beach here in south's seems weed like & very unique looking

Neutral Kiyzersoze On Oct 24, 2010, Kiyzersoze from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

Pretty much considered a weed here in South Florida. Interesting to know that it is poisonous to dogs and cats.

Neutral ambersunny On Aug 26, 2010, ambersunny from Asheville, NC wrote:

I have just discovered this plant in a clients garden in Asheville, NC. I have been designing & working in gardens for 10+ years here, and have never seen this plant. From research it seems as if Heterophylla and Cyathophora are very close. I am thinking the Heterophylla has the wider leaves which is what I have. ??? And the Cyathophora has the spiny leaves?? It seems to have been reseeding its self but not too dramatically.

Positive CherokeeGreg On Aug 10, 2009, CherokeeGreg from Fresno, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

It comes up year after year I never knew what it was until today. I thought it was very pertty weed. Its a nice plant and easy to grow.

zone 9

Negative Len123 On Jul 1, 2007, Len123 from Adrian, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

very invasive. more of a weed than a flower. no flowers, not showy. I've read in south america gets in soybeans and glycophosphate based herbicides doesn't kill it. I have pulled diligently and keeps springing up.

Positive diablo2003 On Mar 31, 2004, diablo2003 from Mission, TX (Zone 10b) wrote:

For the Southern most tip of Texas, where temperature gets up to 104F, this medium growth shrub with its unique shape and color is a pleasant weed. Alike most weeds, no care needed, watering not an issue and arrived on its own one day. Since I discovered it, I have been regularly caring for it as I do for my other plants and it LOVES it!!! Getting taller and fuller. Stately appearance. If one were to pot it and sell it at the nursery, it could be passed off as some exotic shrub!

Neutral Terry On Sep 11, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

This species is not as common as Euphorbia heterophylla which is also known as "Summer Poinsettia" (as are several varieties of Amaranthus, but those are easily distinguished from the Euphorbias.)

Positive thewiggs On Sep 10, 2003, thewiggs from Salisbury, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I planted this plants seeds only once, two years ago. Since then it has randomly sprung up in my garden in several different locations. It has grown well in full sun without any help from me.

Neutral wanda0810 On Sep 5, 2003, wanda0810 from Ashville, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

I started with one plant five years ago and it is every where now.I give it away every year and everyone loves it. By the middle of august here in Ohio its at its best.It is a really pretty plant.

Positive Bairie On Aug 11, 2003, Bairie from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

Everyone (meaning all my aunts) had these plants back in the 40's. I have been looking for it for a long time--didn't know the name of it. I used to see them growing wild, too.

Neutral Nurafey On May 18, 2003, Nurafey from Polk City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I have seen this plant in central Florida, and thought it was related to the traditional Poinsettia, but it was growing like a weed. I have seen it a few times since, but always in weedy type situations, growing happily by itself. In addition to it being poisonous to people and dogs, it is also toxic to cats.

Neutral molly03jmu On Oct 31, 2002, molly03jmu wrote:

Be very careful with this plant, especially if you have dogs or children that may possibly eat it. The Mexican fire plant if ingested can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, shock and even death. The milky sap that the plant contains and that oozes out when a stem is broken can also irritate the skin. It is a lovely plant, and thrives in the Galapagos Islands and other areas of South America as well as south-eastern North American states. It is often mistaken that the red/green bracts are its flower petals, but the flowers are actually the small green cups that only have either stamens or pistils, no other reproductive whorls.

Neutral cjs41 On Sep 24, 2002, cjs41 from Dacula, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

One of these plants appeared in my brother's garden and I really thought it was beautiful. But did not think it was in the poinsettia family. An older lady told us that it was practically a weed here in Georgia and invasive. But have lived here all my life and never noticed it before this summer. So it can't be that "weedy." I tried to root a cutting in soil and it rotted but was able to root readily a cutting in water.

Neutral mystic On Aug 31, 2002, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

A good filler plant but can be invasive. I planted it two years ago and still have it going strong in my garden. Easy to pull and get rid of unwanted plants.

Positive yardbird On Aug 31, 2002, yardbird from Maben, MS (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is one of my favorite plants. It looks good in the fall when most everything else is well past their prime.

Neutral Terry On Aug 31, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easy to grow plant, and the flowers are inconspicuous enough to fill in between other plants.

But - be aware of the force with which its seeds burst forth (meaning you'll find seedlings EVERYWHERE.)

Seeds should be collected when the husks take on a dry, pale green appearance. You can experiment by opening up one and seeing if the seeds are dark brown/black - if so, they're ripe and ready to pick. If they are still white and oozing sap, they're not ready.

Place the seed pods (each normally contains two or three seeds) in a jar or deep bowl with a lid. As they dry, the husks will come loose with a "POP", and without a lid, you'll find seeds all over the place :)

Neutral ds9is1 On Aug 31, 2002, ds9is1 wrote:

I haven't had much experience with this plant, as just this year I transplanted some from my mother's garden (Texas, zone 7) to mine (Georgia, zone 8). It appears to be thriving and Mom said that it will reseed itself gladly.

I just wanted to add that my grandmother called this plant a "hypocrite bush" because it resembled a poinsettia but wasn't really one. I finally tracked down its real name, and, lo and behold, it actually IS a close relative of the poinsettia. Not too much of a hypocrite after all.

I don't know how many others may have used that term. Of course, my grandmother also referred to purple heart as purple coleus and called moss rose (portulaca) just "moss".


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (3 reports)
Madison, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Fresno, California
Palm Springs, California
San Diego, California
Bartow, Florida
Fernandina Beach, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
Miami, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Barbourville, Kentucky
Silver Spring, Maryland
Maben, Mississippi
Adrian, Missouri
Saint Robert, Missouri
Strafford, Missouri
Utica, New York
Asheville, North Carolina
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Norwood, North Carolina
Wilson, North Carolina
Ashville, Ohio
Delaware, Oklahoma
Fair Play, South Carolina
Greeneville, Tennessee
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Mc Minnville, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Bulverde, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Denison, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Greenville, Texas
Houston, Texas
Kurten, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Mercedes, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Sherman, Texas

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