The Flower of the Season: Poinsettia
‘Tis the season for holiday flower shows, and the flower of choice is the poinsettia. Purists know that the colorful “petals” are really leaves, but no matter. That bright red and green is just what we need to brighten our spirits and set the tone for Christmas decor.
The traditional poinsettia is red, but there are more than 100 varieties of Euphorbia pulcherrima with bracts in white, various shades of pink and burgundy. They can be all one color, marbled, speckled or edged in a different color.
In its native habitat, Mexico and Central America, it’s a perennial shrub that can be 10 to 15 feet tall. Grafted and tweaked and tended and raised in a greenhouse for indoor use, it’s most familiar as a compact plant covered in blooms.
Here are some holiday flower displays to check out:
The annual poinsettia show at the Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens, Baltimore, Maryland, runs December 6, 2014, through January 4, 2015. Hundreds of specimens of every color, size, and shape are on view.
Thousands of holiday flowers will brighten the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, New York, November 28, 2014, through January 4, 2015, during the annual Poinsettia Show.
In the Midwest, check out the Holiday Flower show December 6, 2014, through January 4, 2015, at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The Holiday Poinsettia Show in the Luthy Botanical Garden, Peoria, Illinois, is open November 21 through December 31, 2014.
More than 5,600 poinsettia plants — multi-hued, deep red, sparkling white and speckled — are grown in greenhouses starting as early as July for the annual holiday show in Lauritzen Gardens, Omaha, Nebraska, running November 28, 2014, through January 4, 2015.
“Silver Linings” is the theme for the annual holiday flower show at the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois. It’s open November 29, 2014, through January 4, 2015.
Poinsettias named ‘Eggnog’, ‘Sparkling Punch and ‘Ice Punch’ are all blended together with ‘Peppermint Twist’ and ‘Ruby Frost’ varieties at the Winter Flower Show in Lincoln Park Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois. It’s blooming November 29, 2014, through January 4, 2015.
Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), a botanist and physician as well as the first American minister to Mexico, introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States in the early 1830s. Needless to say, it’s English name derives from his.