Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch

Frost tender erect to spreading, partially deciduous shrub with lance-shaped, often lobed or toothed leaves, to 15cm long, and terminal cymes, to 30cm across, of small green flowers ringed by large, very showy bright red bracts, in winter.  Varieties alba, rosea and others are also commonly grown.  To 2.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘By whom this truly splendid plant was communicated to Willdenow’s Herbarium, I am not informed, but it was again discovered by Mr. Poinsette in Mexico, and sent by him to Charleston in 1828, and afterwards to Mr. Buist of Philadelphia, who has within a very few years brought together a choice collection of plants, equally creditable to his enterprise, and promising, as a point from which will be diffused a greater knowledge of the vegetation of North America.  From Mr. Buist it was brought by Mr. James M’Nab, to the Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, and to several other establishments in this country, in November, 1834, and from the information communicated by him it has since been imported into other British collections from Mr. Buist’s garden.  It flowered twice with us last year, but too imperfectly to allow of its being figured.  It subsequently flowered with Dr. Neill, Canonmills, and again with us this month (February, 1836).  Nothing can be more ornamental in the stove.  The rose-like whorls of bracteae which terminate the branches, have been seen on the large plants cultivated at Philadelphia as much as twenty inches across, and equal in colour to the finest tints of Hibiscus Rosa-sinensis.  The structure seems to me to constitute a new generic type, though in several species of Euphorbia, as in E. splendens, there are the rudiments of the remarkable septa found in the involucre here.’  [BM t.3493/1836].  van Nooten.

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1850 catalogue.  It was probably obtained from Loddiges’ nursery.  It was included among desiderata in a letter dated 16th April 1846.  [MP A2933-1, p.147].


Published Feb 20, 2010 - 02:32 PM | Last updated Feb 20, 2010 - 02:47 PM

Figured are lobed leaves, bright red leaf-like bracts and tiny red flowers.  van Nooten.

Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch | van Nooten as Poinsettia pulcherrima | BHL

Family Euphorbiaceae
Region of origin


  • Poinsettia pulcherrima Graham
Common Name

Poinsettia, Mexican flame leaf

Name in the Camden Park Record

Poinsettia pulcherrima 

Confidence level high