Euphorbia cyathophora (PROSEA)

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

Euphorbia cyathophora Murray

Protologue: Comm. Göttingen 7: 81, t. 1 (1786).


Euphorbia heterophylla L. var. cyathophora (Murray) Griseb. (1859), Poinsettia cyathophora (Murray) Klotzsch & Garcke (1859), Poinsettia graminifolia (Michx.) Millsp. (1909).

Vernacular names

  • Painted leaf, red milkweed, wild poinsettia (En)
  • Philippines: pintado (Tagalog)
  • Vietnam: trạng nguyên ghi ta.


Native to the southern United States, Mexico and perhaps also the Greater Antilles, but now cultivated and commonly escaping and naturalizing throughout the tropics. Within Malesia occurring in Peninsular Malaysia, Java, the Lesser Sunda Islands, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.


In Peninsular Malaysia, a decoction of the roots and bark is used to treat ague. In Mexico, the stem latex is applied against erysipelas. In the West Indies, the latex is applied to corns. In Guatemala, a decoction of the flowers is taken as a pectoral. In Central America, the roots are applied as an emetic and cathartic and administered in very small doses. In Brazil, the leaves are used to produce the red dye porcetin. E. cyathophora is sometimes planted for ornamental purposes.


An annual or facultative perennial, unarmed herb up to 1.5 m tall; leaves alternate, ovate or lanceolate to fiddle-shaped, 4-10 cm × 1-5 cm, base cuneate to rounded, apex obtuse or acute, margin entire to serrulate or dentate, glossy green, lower surface pilose, petiole up to 1.7 cm long, glabrous or sparsely pilose; inflorescence a terminal, clustered cyme of cyathia, bracts similar to the leaves but progressively smaller, with a red blotch at base or entirely red; cyathia with 1(-2) peltate, funnel-shaped glands with an elliptical, 2 mm wide opening, anthers yellow; capsule deeply 3-lobed, 4-5 mm × 3.5-5 mm, smooth; seeds ovoid, sharply tuberculate. E. cyathophora is found in waste places and roadsides, up to 1800 m altitude.

Selected sources

97, 217, 372, 864, 865, 979, 1178, 1183, 1185, 1186, 1582.


Nguyen Nghia Thin & M.S.M. Sosef