Euphorbia cyathophora

Eurphorbia cyathorphora (Painted spurge)

(Painted Spurge, Mexican Fire Plant, Poinsettia)




Euphorbia Cyathophora Murr.

Common name(s)

Painted Spurge

Main colour(s)

Inconspicuous flowers and red floral leaves




Orpheus Island Research Station


This species is a weed of disturbed sites, waste areas, roadsides and creek banks in tropical, sub-tropical environments. It is most abundant as a weed of costal environs and offshore islands.

An annual herbaceous plant with an upright habitat growing to around 70-90cm in height, this plant can be distinguished by its distinctive reddish-pink leaves directly below its inconspicuous flowers. The leaves are fiddle-shaped and are alternately arranged along the stem. The stem and leaves have a milky sap which can be highly irritating when it comes into contact with skin or accidently rubbed into eyes. Painted spurge reproduces via seed capsules that explosively open when mature, expelling seeds short distances and they may also be spread by water movement or via dumped garden waste.

Sites where this species can be found at OIRS

Native to tropical North America, this plant has a widespread but scattered distribution throughout most of Australia and is regarded as one of the top 200 environmental weeds in Queensland.

This plant was not seen on OIRS prior to cyclone Yasi in 2011 but has been one of the most dominant weeds since this event and is one of the species included in our weed removal program. It can commonly be found growing in areas throughout the station that suffered tree and ground cover loss from the cyclone, predominantly being found along the edges of the beach area, within the first metre of the tree line within the station lease hold and along the track to the point.

Research that has been undertaken at OIRS


2011: Approximately 7.2 cubic meters removed offsite by OIRS volunteers

2012: Approximately 6.5 cubic meters removed offsite by OIRS volunteers

Juvinelle Painted spurge