Paintedleaf is an erect annual to short-lived perennial. Its interesting foliage provides a nice accent to a wildflower garden or native plant landscape, but it can be very aggressive as it readily self-seeds. Its tiny flowers attract butterflies and bees. The seeds are a favorite of mourning doves. Paintedleaf also is known by the scientific name Euphorbia cyathophora. The genus Euphorbia (as well as the family name Euphorbiaceae) refers to the Greek physician Euphorbus, who discovered many medicinal properties of plants in this genus. Other common names include Florida poinsettia, wild poinsettia, dwarf poinsettia and fire-on-the-mountain. It is related to the common “Christmas” poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), which is indigenous to Mexico and bears larger, more striking red bracts. It likes moist to dry, well-drained sandy soils, full sun to partial shade and grows to about 2' tall. It is self-seeding, but I hear seeds are difficult to start.
CAUTION: The milky sap is toxic and can irritate the skin.