Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fire on the Mountain - Mystery Solved!



Behind my booth at the Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival I discovered a plant I'd not seen before.  I was struck by Nature's red brushstrokes within the green leaves.  So much of the plant reminded me of a poinsettia but then not.

I posted this initial sketch on Flickr and asked if anyone had any idea what  this plant was called.  Several flickr friends said poinsettia.

I search all my books, but to no avail. I wanted to know this poinsettia like plant's latin name.

John Nelson of the University of South Carolina's Department of Biological Sciences came to the rescue.  I sent him my initial sketch and a couple of photographs I took.

Here's what he said: This plant is "fire on the mountain" or "painted leaf", Euphorbia cyathophora. It is indeed related to the poinsettias of commerce. This species is introduced, and is a bit weedy, but I don't think it is really invasive--

I so love it when a mystery can be solved! Thank you, John!!