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Hort in the Home Landscape

A blog devoted to sharing timely horticulture topics and answering the questions of gardeners and homeowners.
2012-12-01 09 28 24

Plant of the Week: Poinsettia


Do you know what today is? National Poinsettia Day!

By an Act of Congress, December 12 is set aside as National Poinsettia Day. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States. Poinsett was an American botanist, physician and Minister to Mexico who in 1828 sent cuttings of the plant he'd discovered in Southern Mexico to his home in Charleston, South Carolina.

The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this popular holiday plant. So, be sure to give someone you love a poinsettia on December 12, National Poinsettia Day!

 

Check out our Poinsettia Pages website for fun Poinsettia Facts like these below and to find out more about the best way to care for your Poinsettias.

  • Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima.
  • Many plants in the Euphorbiaceae family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves. For pets, the poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea. Probably best to keep pets away from the plant, especially puppies and kittens.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  • The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
  • Poinsettias have also been called the lobster flower and the flame-leaf flower, due to the red color.
  • Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States from Mexico. Poinsett was a botanist, physician and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico.
  • In Mexico the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall.
  • There are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today. Poinsettias come in colors like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.
  • The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 70% of all Poinsettias purchased in the United States and does about 50% of the world-wide sales of Poinsettias.


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