This photo is of something I was not expecting. During my recent trip to Rwanda, this gorgeous leaf formation caught my eye. I had never seen anything quite like it. It was a striking burst of color on an otherwise fairly bare branch. When I asked someone what it was, I was surprised to discover that it was a poinsettia, and that poinsettias can grow into small trees up to about 10 feet in height. I had no idea, because to my untrained eye this looks nothing like the potted poinsettias that abound at Christmastime (except perhaps for the red leaves). I’ll take the tree!
So an unexpected encounter led to an unexpected discovery — and I couldn’t be more delighted. The red leaves are called brachts; the actual poinsettia flowers are tiny and yellow.