Nothing says Christmas like the classic, red poinsettia.
The ‘flowers’ that are the main attraction aren’t really flowers at all. They are actually colorful bracts or modified leaves. The true flowers or ‘cyathia’ are small, yellow and clustered in the middle of these bracts. Although, these warm weather plants are native to Mexico, the United States now grows and exports 90 percent of the flowering poinsettias worldwide. All are sold within a six-week period during the Christmas holiday season.
While other members of the Euphorbia family contain highly toxic plants, the popular poinsettia is not poisonous to humans. The white sap of any Euphorbia can irritate skin or the leaves can cause an upset stomach if eaten—but only if consumed in extremely large quantities. However, poinsettias can be toxic to dogs and cats so keep them out of your pets’ reach. Take care and enjoy their long history and joyful presence during this holiday season!
Caring for Poinsettias
1. Choose a fresh plant without wilting or dropping leaves.
2. To pick the freshest poinsettia, choose a plant with little or no yellow pollen showing in the flowers.
3. When transporting, make sure the plant is wrapped properly because its tender leaves can freeze quickly.
4. Light: Place plant near a sunny window or where it will receive the most sunlight: East, west or south exposure is best. Keep away from cold or warm drafts from doors, windows or vents.