Posts Tagged ‘poinsettia’

All About the Christmas Poinsettia

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There is just something about the poinsettia that makes you think Christmas.  With its vibrant reds and lush greens, there is no questions as to its beauty.  It also makes an outstanding gardening gift.  While they are the most popular of Christmas greenery, making up 85% of holiday potted plant sales, most people know surprisingly little about the poinsettia.  Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions and set the record straight.

Myth:  Poinsettias are native to the United States

Fact:   Native to Mexico  poinsettias were used by the Aztecs to make a dye from the bracts (the red part) that was a reddish purple color.   They were introduced to the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.  Commercially, poinsettias are grown in every state in the union with California leading the pack as the top producer (California ranch, The Paul Ecke Ranch, is credited with growing more than 80 percent of the U.S. poinsettias to supply to the wholesale market.  This is also where about 90% of all flowering poinsettias worldwide originate.).  In fact, 90% of all poinsettias sold nowadays are exported from the United States.

Myth:  The colored part of the poinsettia is a flower.

Fact:   The colored part of the plant is actually not a flower, but leaves that have been modified.  These leaves are also  known as bracts.  The flower part of the poinsettia is actually located in the center of the bracts.  Very little, if any, pollen is visible on the flowers.  Once the poinsettia has shed its pollen, it will also soon shed its colorful bracts.

Myth:  All poinsettias are expensive.

Fact:   While some poinsettias can get pricey, they are actually priced by how many blooms each plant has.  The more expensive plants have more blooms.  This makes the poinsettia a versatile gardening gift.

Myth:  Poinsettias are Poisonous.

Fact:   Ohio State University conducted a study to determine the toxicity of the poinsettia.  The conclusion was that if a child weighing 50 pounds were to eat 500 bracts, they may get a slight stomach ache.  However, the poinsettia sap can be irritating to some people who have a sensitivity to it.  It can also cause an upset stomach if too much is consumed.

Myth:  There is only one type of poinsettia.

Fact:   There are more than one hundred different varieties of poinsettias from which you can choose.  They also come in different colors, red which is the most popular, white which comes in at second place and pink which comes in last.

Myth:  All poinsettias are small plants.

Fact:   When found in nature, poinsettias grow as shrubs that can get as tall as ten feet in height.  However, they are a perennial which makes them a great gardening gift that keeps on giving.

You can’t go wrong if you give these lovely gardening gifts to your favorite green thumb.  They are pretty hardy and are highly adaptable to many different climates.  Because they can be grown anywhere in the United States, you don’t have to worry about the region of your gift recipient.  You can give this beautiful gift of holiday cheer and know that every time they look at their poinsettia they will think of you. 😉

Christmas Poinsettia

Christmas Poinsettia

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