Life Part Two

The adventures of Fay and Bob as they move beyond the 9 to 5 life

The favorite holiday plant Poinsettias and Greenville SC

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PoinsettiaPoinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett of Greenville  SC.  He found them in Mexico and brought them to the US.

I remember my mom telling me this story about poinsettias.   When she was a young woman she worked at a Nielsons Greenhouse in Mankato.  In order for poinsettias to bloom they need to spend a significant amount of time in complete darkness.  The greenhouse had a room just for this purpose and they couldn’t figure out why the plants in one part of the room would never bloom.

Turns out they had a security guard and every night when he was doing his security rounds he would open the door and shine his flashlight in the corner of the room.   That small amount of light was enough to affect the plants. After I heard that I never tried to save them and get them to bloom again.

If you are looking for holiday trivia, read on!

From wikipedia  – Joel Roberts Poinsett (March 2, 1779December 12, 1851) was a physician, botanist and American statesman. He was a member of the United States House of Representatives, the first United States Minister to Mexico (the United States did not appoint ambassadors until 1896), a U.S. Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren and a cofounder of National Institute for the Promotion of Science and the Useful Arts (a predecessor of the Smithsonian Institution), as well as the namesake of Poinsett County, Arkansas, the historic Poinsett Bridge in Greenville County, South Carolina, Poinsett State Park in Sumter County, SC, and the poinsettia, a popular Christmas flower.

This is from the University of Illinois Extension  web site

Poinsettia Facts

  • Poinsettias are native to Mexico.
  • The Aztecs called the poinsettia Cuetlaxochitl. They made a reddish purple dye from the bracts.
  • Chile and Peru called the poinsettia the “Crown of the Andes.”
  • Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae family. Many plants in this family ooze a milky sap.
  • Some people may have skin irritation from the milky sap
  • In nature, poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to ten feet tall. Would I love to see that!
  • The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think are the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
  • Poinsettias are priced according to the number of blooms. The more blooms, the more expensive the plant.
  • The flowers or cyathia of the poinsettia are in the center of the colorful bracts.
  • Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower.
  • Poinsettias are not poisonous.
  • A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50 pound child who ate 500 bracts might have a slight tummy ache.
  • Poinsettia sap that can irritate the skin and cause an upset stomach if consumed in large enough quantities.
  • A fresh poinsettia is one on which little or no yellow pollen is showing on the flower clusters in the center of the bracts. Plants that have shed their pollen will soon drop their colorful bracts.
  • Poinsettias represent over 85 percent of the potted plant sales during the holiday       season.
  • Ninety percent of all poinsettias are exported from the United States.
  • In the 17th century, Juan Balme, a botanist, mentioned poinsettia plants in his writings.
  • Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.
  • Poinsettias are commercially grown in all 50 states.
  • California is the top poinsettia producing state.
  • December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.
  • The Paul Ecke Ranch in California grows over 80 percent of poinsettias in the United States for the wholesale market.
  • Ninety per cent of all the flowering poinsettias in the world got their start at the Paul Ecke Ranch.
  • There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available.
  • $220 million worth of poinsettias are sold during the holiday season.
  • Seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent pink.
  • Eighty percent of poinsettias are purchased by women.
  • Eighty percent of people who purchase poinsettias are 40 or older.
  • Poinsettias are the best selling flowering potted plant in the United States. In 2004 over 61 million plants were sold.
  • Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant even though most are sold in a 6 week period.
  • An NCCA Bowl game in San Diego is named the Poinsettia Bowl.
  • Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.

Now go on out and purchase one of these beautiful plants!


Author: Fay

Follow the adventures of Fay and Bob, 65 plus, as they explore the country to look for a new home, sell their MN home, finally move and get settled into a new state and town.

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