Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch Allg. Gartenzeitung 2: 27 (1834)

Named meaning 'beautiful'.

Euphorbia coccinea Willd. ex Boiss. [Illegitimate]
Euphorbia diversifolia Willd. ex Boiss. [Invalid]
Euphorbia erythrophylla Bertol.
Euphorbia fastuosa Sessé & Moc.
Euphorbia lutea Alam. ex Boiss. [Illegitimate]
Euphorbia poinsettiana Buist ex Giah. [Illegitimate]
Euphorbia pulcherrima forma lutea Standl.
Pleuradenia coccinea Raf.
Poinsettia pulcherrima (Willd. ex Klotzsch) Graham
Poinsettia pulcherrima var. albida Maund

Shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6 to 4 m. The plant bears dark green dentate leaves that measure 7 to 16 cm in length. The colored bracts—which are most often flaming red but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white or marbled—are actually leaves; because the flowers are unassuming and do not attract pollinators, brightly coloured leaves developed (aka bracts). The colors come from photoperiodism, meaning that they require darkness for 12 hours at a time for at least 5 days in a row to change color. At the same time, the plants need a lot of light during the day for the brightest color. Because of their groupings and colors, laymen often think the bracts are the flower petals of the plant. In fact, the flowers are grouped within the small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, and they are called cyathia. [Wikipedia]

It is found in the wild in deciduous tropical forest at moderate elevations. It is also found in the interior in the hot, seasonally dry forests.

Originally from central America, but now cultivated and naturalized around the (sub-)tropics.

Worldwide sold as an ornamental, especially for christmas.

Local names
Dutch: Ataturk bloem, Kerstroos, Kerstster, Poinsettia. Spanish: Noche buena, Poinsettia.