The Q&A Archives: Heirloom Hardy Poinsettia

Question: I had a plant that my grandmother called a Hardy Poinsetta. It came up every year and had a red leaf bloom just like a poinsetta. It was an old plant that she had transplanted from her garden in Nicholas County, Kentucky. My plant was about 21" tall and was blooming, our lawn care person, thinking it was a weed, cut it down. It has not grown back. My grandmother has passed away and I cannot get another plant if one exists. I hope you can help to locate a plant like this. I want it in my garden in honor of her memory. Thank You.

Answer: I wonder if it might be the Mexican fire plant, also called painted leaf, fire-on-the-mountain, and annual pointsettia. (The botanical name is Euphorbia heterophylla, or Poinsettia heterophylla.) This plant is native from Illinois to Florida, and has red bracts similar to the common poinsettia, but much less showy.

There's a photo of the plant on this site; you need to scroll down a ways to get to it:

I have had some trouble finding sources. One web site with the plant is located at:

And a reference I consulted suggested Wild Seed Farms as a source; they don't have an online catalog, but here is their web page with contact info:

Good luck!

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