Plant of the Day: Poinsettia

poinsettia shrub growing on edge of creek

Poinsettias (the shrub with the bright red leaves—shaped like flower rosettes—at the center of the photo above) are native to the Americas, but plenty are to be found in Madagascar. They were brought here as a decorative plant and, as often happens with garden introductions, got loose with the help of birds. Because it never freezes in Madagascar, poinsettias here can reach the size of small trees.

This particular poinsettia shrub is growing in a creekbed near the lodge where we’re staying. Though an invasive species, poinsettia is not quite as bad as lantana, which is all over the forest edge at Andisabe National Park, and anywhere else you look.

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