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Euphorbia cotinifolia

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Euphorbia cotinifolia is a broadleaf red shrub native to Mexico and South America. Treated as a shrub, it reaches Template:Convert but can be grown as a tree reaching Template:Convert. Small white flowers with creamy bracts bloom at the ends of the branches in summer. The purplish stems, when broken, exude a sap that is a skin irritant.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

The scientific name of the plant comes from the words cotinus meaning "smoketree" and folia meaning "leaf".<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Common names for the species include smoketree spurge, tropical smoke bush, Caribbean copper plant,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and Mexican shrubby spurge.<ref name=USDA>Template:PLANTS</ref>

Toxicity

The species is well known in Central America, where its poisonous sap has been used both as a medicine and a poison. As a medicine, it has been used in folk remedies as both an emetic and cathartic substance. Fishermen have been known to add the sap to water in fishing grounds to stun fish and force them to float to the top. It was also historically used as a poison for arrowheads by the natives of Curaçao.<ref name="clay">Template:Cite book</ref>

The sap can cause irritation if it comes into contact with human skin or eyes.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> If ingested, the sap can cause severe damage to internal organs.<ref name="clay" />

Gardening

Euphorbia cotinifolia is commonly grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and in pots, due to its colourful and distinctive foliage. It prefers a site with well-drained soil and full sun. While relatively hardy, it does not react well to wind, salt, or frost.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

References

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External links

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