Homalanthus_populifolius.jpg (64031 bytes)Homalanthus populifolius: is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family and is known as Bleeding Heart.

Homalanthus populifolius is a medium to tall bushy shrub that may reach a height of five metres.

Young stems exude a whitish sap. This may cause irritation to people with sensitive skin.

Leaves are almost heart-shaped and up to 15 centimetres long by 6-12 centimetres wide, They are green above, greyish-green beneath with older leaves turning red to crimson before they are shed (hence the common name).

Flowers and fruit are rather insignificant. The Bleeding Heart is grown as an eye-catching foliage plant.

Homalanthus populifolius is found from central Queensland to the South Coast of New South Wales, growing on rainforest margins and colonising disturbed areas.

The species is also said to occur in New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Lord Howe Island. These South Pacific occurrences may refer to another species.

In areas outside its natural distribution Bleeding Heart has the potential to become an environmental weed.

Homalanthus populifolius could be cultivated in a container.

There is some taxonomic confusion with this species. Homalanthus populifolius is sometimes listed as Omalanthus populifolius and some references refer to the species as either Homalanthus or Omalanthus nutans.

Propagate from fresh seed or cuttings using firm, young growth. Be careful of the sap when preparing cuttings.