[7], Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6–4 metres (2–13 ft). While many people simply cast the plant away after blooming, poinsettia plants will continue to grow for years with proper care, which typically means keeping the soil moist and providing bright sun. The color transformation of the plant’s lovely bracts occurs when the plants are given precise periods of complete darkness. Its range is about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) long, encompassing mid-elevation tropical dry forests. Some bracts are showy with distinct marbling or edging in contrasting colors. Bacterial diseases include bacterial soft rot and bacterial canker, while a viral disease is Poinsettia mosaic virus. In regions where the temperature drops below freezing, poinsettias may be wintered inside the home and grown outside during frost-free months. To make a poinsettia bloom in early winter, indoor gardeners simply need to adjust the amount of light and darkness to "fool" the plant, ... Color should be showing in the bracts. [13], Poinsettias are popularly, though incorrectly, said to be toxic to humans and other animals. [17] Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became poinsettias. [12], The flowers of the poinsettia are unassuming and do not attract pollinators. [22], Besides changing the market from mature plants shipped by rail to cuttings sent by air, he sent free plants to television stations for them to display on air from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Autumn Leaves is an unusual poinsettia with bright bracts that resemble leaves of the fall season. Poinsettia bracts range in color from the traditional pure white, pink or red to purple, yellow, orange and salmon. [28] The discovery of the role phytoplasmas play in the growth of axillary buds is credited to Ing-Ming Lee of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. A poinsettia plant must have at least 12 hours of darkness for 5 to six consecutive nights to achieve this effect. The Eckes' technique made it possible to get every seedling to branch, resulting in a bushier plant. [10] Nothing is known about pollination in wild poinsettias, though wasps are noted to occasionally visit the cyathia. Wondering how to get a poinsettia to “rebloom?” It’s not the easiest process, and poinsettias need to be babied a bit. They became associated with the Christmas holiday and are popular seasonal decorations. [32], Species of flowering plant in the spurge family Euphorbiaceae, American Association of Poison Control Centers, "Beschreibung zweier neuen Euphorbien aus Mexico", "The Poinsettia: History and Transformation", "Poinsettia's wild ancestor in the Mexican dry tropics: Historical, genetic, and environmental evidence", "The Legends and Traditions of Holiday Plants | Horticulture and Home Pest News", "The Legends and Traditions of Holiday Plants", "The poinsettia: Jesus' life story in a plant", "The bloom is off the poinsettia business", "How America's Most Popular Potted Plant Captured Christmas", "First Report of Wilt and Stem Canker of Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) Caused by Phytophthora nicotianae in Puerto Rico", "Poinsettias: Helping an Icon to Bloom at the Right Time", "How Poinsettias Became Synonymous With Christmas", Plant Pathology Fact Sheet: Poinsettia Diseases, List of Christmas gift-bringers by country, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Poinsettia&oldid=991733406, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 1 December 2020, at 15:17. In rare cases, exposure to the eye may result in eye irritation. [22], Until the 1990s, the Ecke family, who had moved their operation to Encinitas, California, in 1923, had a virtual monopoly on poinsettias owing to a technique that made their plants much more attractive. Restoring a Poinsettia to its Christmas Color. The bright bracts are designed to attract insects to the tiny yellow flowers in their centers. [20], Poinsettias are popular Christmas decorations[21] in homes, churches, offices, and elsewhere across North America, as a result of an extensive marketing campaign by the Ecke family that began by shipping free poinsettias to television stations for use on-air. By Joe Lamp'l. Examples of this type of bract include Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia) and Bougainvillea: both of these have large colourful bracts surrounding much smaller, less colourful flowers.. The flower contains the pollen necessary for pollination and seed formation. [7], The poinsettia is the world's most economically important potted plant. This has not been documented in wild poinsettias though, as cultivars seldom flower and do not produce fruits. [8] Cultivation in the US began when diplomat Joel Roberts Poinsett sent some of the plants back to his greenhouses in South Carolina in the 1820s. Most people assume the tiny flower is simply the center of the colorful bracts that look like a large bloom. Poinsettias bloom when they are exposed to 12 to 14 hours of darkness each night for eight to 12 weeks. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are in the Euphorbia family and are a popular holiday plant because of their colorful bracts (leaves). Variants. Every year in the US, approximately 70 million poinsettias of many cultivated varieties are sold in a six-week period. The color of a poinsettia’s bracts is created through a process called “photoperiodism,” meaning the processes are related to the photoperiod or length of day. Because the bracts are showy, and the true blooms are indistinct, many mistakenly believe the bracts are the flowers of the poinsettia. [10][11] The colors of the bracts are created through photoperiodism, meaning that they require darkness (at least fourteen hours at a time for 6–8 weeks in a row) to change color. Most wild populations are on Pacific-facing slopes in steep canyons. [10] In Chile and Peru, the plant became known as Crown of the Andes. Many plants with bracts don’t look like this, however. [14] In 1944, the plant was included in H. R. Arnold's book Poisonous Plants of Hawaii on this premise. Plum pudding is considered the first natural variant to produce purple bracts. Wild poinsettia populations are highly fragmented, as their habitat is experiencing largely unregulated deforestation. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. Those big red “petals” are actually bracts that have gained a bright color meant to draw pollinators into the tiny flowers in the center. If ingested, mild drooling or vomiting can occur, or rarely, diarrhea. To initiate blooming, place your poinsettia in total darkness for 12 to 14 hours a night beginning in mid-October. His son, Paul Ecke, developed the grafting technique, but it was the third generation of Eckes, Paul Ecke Jr., who was responsible for advancing the association between the plant and Christmas. Though Arnold later admitted that the story was hearsay and that poinsettias were not proven to be poisonous, the plant was thus thought deadly. He became intrigued by the plant and sold them from street stands. I love them because they are one of the few plants that can bring some color into the house during these darkest days and because even if you do nothing else, a red poinsettia makes your house look holiday-ish. [25] In Puerto Rico, where poinsettias are grown extensively in greenhouses, the industry is valued at $5 million annually. [23][24], The Aztecs were the first to cultivate poinsettias. Reblooming your Poinsettia. What are often taken to be the petals of flowers are sometimes bracts—for example, the large, colourful bracts of poinsettias or the showy white or pink bracts of dogwood These colorful "blooms" are actually modified leaves, called bracts, that surround the true flower of the poinsettia. All of these production practices will lead to larger bracts and increased problems with bract edge burn. [26] There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia that have been patented in the US. When you deprive the plant in its full leafing stage of light, the only chlorophyll used to turn the leaves green cannot be produced. Foliage and bracts vary in size and shape. It has been hypothesized that the inaccessibility of the canyons may protect the wild populations from human disturbance. Once bracts begin to show color, the bracts are slow to enlarge, so it is tempting to water more frequently, fertilize as when the plant is actively growing following the pinch, and/or to increase day and night temperatures. When grown in the soil, poinsettias can reach heights of 10 feet with a spread of 6 feet. Sep 29, 2014 - Explore Bernie Galang's board "Poinsettias Colors", followed by 301 people on Pinterest. Actually, they are not flowers but modified leaves called bracts. The plant bears dark green dentate leaves that measure 7–16 centimetres (2.8–6.3 in) in length. The plant bears dark green dentate leaves that measure 7–16 centimetres (2.8–6.3 in) in length. [4] Similarly, a cat or dog's exposure to poinsettias rarely necessitates medical treatment. After university research trials showed sensitivities of some colored bracts of poinsettia cultivars at labeled rates of the insecticide Hachi-Hachi, SePRO is voluntarily restricting the use of the insecticide on poinsettias with bracts in color.Since its launch, Hachi-Hachi has proven to be an effective and efficacious insecticide for Western flower thrips, aphid and other foliar […] It is the first known phytoplasma that has economically advantageous effects. As of 2012, wild poinsettias are not protected by Mexican law. Red bracts are most common, but there are cultivars that are pink, salmon orange, yellow, cream, white, mottled, all … While the traditional red is by far the most popular color of poinsettias, they come in many colors and variations. In order for a poinsettia to change color, it needs twelve hours of darkness for at least five consecutive days. [10] In Spain it is known as Flor de Pascua or Pascua, meaning Easter flower. Stray light from a streetlight, or even a bathroom light turned on for a few minutes, may prevent the poinsettia from developing color. The flowers of the poinsettia are the round yellow structures located in the center of the bracts. The Ecke family's business, now led by Paul Ecke III, decided to stop producing plants in the US, but as of 2008, they still served about 70 percent of the domestic market and 50 percent of the worldwide market. [4] This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf. When the bracts begin to show color, the plant can be moved to the desired location for the holidays and will continue to develop its bright color. What Can I Do to Make My Poinsettia Bloom Red Flowers?. They produced a fuller, more compact plant by grafting two varieties of poinsettia together. External exposure to the plant may result in a skin rash for some. Common Plants with Bracts. In 1970 the US Food and Drug Administration published a newsletter stating erroneously that "one poinsettia leaf can kill a child", and in 1980 they were prohibited from nursing homes in a county in North Carolina due to this supposed toxicity. [27][10][11], To produce extra axillary buds that are necessary for plants containing multiple flowers, a phytoplasma infection—whose symptoms include the proliferation of axillary buds—is used. The Poinsettia is a light sensitive plant. Poinsettias are shrubs or small trees, with heights of 0.6–4 m (2.0–13.1 ft). Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with more than four years' experience in online writing. They prefer full sun and moderately moist soil that drains well. Bracts usually differ in shape or color from leaves, and they function differently. There is also a species that is used as a cut flower. Longtime readers of this blog will know that I have a love-hate relationship with poinsettias. Under the right conditions poinsettias can be restored to their Christmas glory. Today, the poinsettia is the number one potted plant sold in the United States. It owes this to its colored bracts that surround the flowers. There are plants with bracts that have evolved to attract pollinators. [19] The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice of Jesus's crucifixion. The red bracts (yes, they are bracts and not leaves or petals) can grow in any shade of the red spectrum, from crimson to scarlet to burgundy to bright red and so on. [9] Prior to poinsettia, it was known as "Mexican flame flower" or "painted leaf". Its natural habitat is thus highly fragmented, particularly near metropolitan areas such as Taxco. Poinsettias brighten the holidays. [22] In the US, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, marking the anniversary of Joel Roberts Poinsett's death. White poinsettia plants have bracts that turn white instead of red. How to Revive a Dying Poinsettia. Growers manipulate conditions to force their poinsettia plants to exhibit the color changes in the bracts. It is the color of passion and one much needed and preferred during the holidays to match the high spirits of … The poinsettia was described as a new species in 1834 by German scientist Johann Friedrich Klotzsch. [10] In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the plant is called Cuetlaxochitl, meaning "flower that grows in residues or soil"[10] Today it is known in Mexico and Guatemala as flor de Nochebuena, meaning Christmas Eve flower. Interesting facts. Population sizes are frequently very small, with as few as a dozen individuals. Why Is My Amaryllis Making Leaves & No Flowers? How Do You Force a Poinsettia To Turn Red? [22], Poinsettias are susceptible to several diseases, mostly fungal, but also bacterial and parasitic. Fungal diseases affecting greenhouse poinsettia operations include Pythium root rot, Rhizoctonia root and stem rot, black root rot, scab, powdery mildew, and Botrytis blight. One population in the Mexican state of Guerrero is much further inland, however, and is thought to be the ancestor of most cultivated populations. The yellow flowers, or cyathia, are in the center of the colorful bracts. Populations were once found in rolling hill areas, though many have gone extinct. Potted poinsettia plants have typically been forced to bloom during the holidays by florists. Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6–4 metres (2–13 ft). [4], An attempt to determine a poisonous dose of poinsettia to rats failed, even after reaching experimental doses equivalent to consuming 500 leaves, or nearly 1 kg (2.2 lb) of sap. There is a somewhat anomalous population of wild poinsettias in the northern part of the Mexican state of Guerrero and Oaxaca, which is much further inland in the hot and seasonally dry forests than the rest of the species' range. If the bracts are removed from beneath the cyathia, the Poinsettia’s reproductive structures become easier to see. Wild poinsettias occur from Mexico to Guatemala, growing on mid-elevation, Pacific-facing slopes. Bracts are the leaves of poinsettia that change color depending on light exposure. This colorful cluster of bracts is commonly referred to as the poinsettia's bloom. A conservation risk typical for species with wild and cultivated populations is the contamination of the wild gene pool by hybridization with cultivated individuals. Flowers may arise between bracts, flowers may be separated from bracts, and bracts can be present without flowers. The showy colored parts of Poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves). He also appeared on television programs like The Tonight Show and Bob Hope's Christmas specials to promote the plants. Poinsettia plants need to be kept in the dark for 6 to 8 weeks in the fall to force the bracts into action. Poinsettia are popular potted plants, particularly during Christmas, Provides effective color in home decor and symbol of Purity. Some bracts are brightly-coloured and serve the function of attracting pollinators, either together with the perianth or instead of it. They are grouped within the cyathia (small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, or false flowers). Poinsettia plants (Euphorbia pulcherrima) remain one of the most popular holiday flowers. ex Klotzsch. It displays a rich, golden-yellow color with small, pink flecks. These plants are typically potted and sold as holiday plants, but they can be grown successfully in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9a through 11. Pictured is a white poinsettia, with a light shade of pink running through the bracts. [18] From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. Genetic analyses showed that the wild populations in northern Guerrero are the likely ancestors of most cultivated poinsettias. Indigenous to Central America, it was described as a new species in 1834. These plants produce brightly colored bracts -- modified leaves -- that turn red, pink or white during the holiday season. See more ideas about poinsettia, christmas flowers, flowers. [5] Klotzsch credited Carl Ludwig Willdenow with the species name "pulcherrima", and the authority is given as Willd. [10], The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or María, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Poinsettia: Expert tips on caring for your poinsettia plant and extending its lifespan. [13], Aztec people use the plant to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication. [16], The poinsettia occurs in Central America, occurring from Mexico to southern Guatemala. Poinsettia bracts are fragile and if the plants are handled roughly, bruises in the form of black or white marks will develop on the bracts. University of Illinois Extension: Poinsettia Facts, University of Florida Extension: Poinsettias, Watering & Sunlight Needs of an Amaryllis Plant. [3] A survey of more than 20,000 calls to the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 1985–1992 related to poinsettia exposure showed no fatalities. All too often, people throw their poinsettias away once the holiday season is over, not realizing that the plant still has plenty of life in it. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. Conditions that promote poinsettia propagation also favor certain diseases. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in teaching 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5. How to Care for a Potted Yellow China Mum. The first step in choosing a poinsettia is to determine the color you would like. The colored bracts—which are normally flaming red, with cultivars being orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled—are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but are actually leaves. Apart from these, there are some unusual color variations available in the market, including blue and purple poinsettia, that are often achieved with a layer of dye. After un-sleeving, space plants apart in … While some varieties produce smooth, tapered leaves, others produce jagged leaves. In 92.4% of calls, there was no effect from exposure, and in 3.4% of calls there were minor effects, defined as "minimally bothersome". Leaves may be anywhere along the stem while bracts are generally located on a stem just below a flower, a flower stalk, or an inflorescence. [8] Possibly as early as 1826, Poinsett began sending poinsettias from Mexico back to his greenhouses in South Carolina. Poinsettia, or “Christmas star”, invades garden stores like gremlins when the end-of-year feasts come nigh. But what many perceive to be flowers are really the colorful bracts. [6], It was known by the common name "poinsettia" as early as 1836,[7] derived from Joel Roberts Poinsett, a botanist and the first US Minister to Mexico. Keeping a poinsettia alive from one holiday season to the next and prompting its bracts to change color is challenging, but it can be done without special equipment. At the end of September, place plants in a dark, cool area (65 degree-ish) for 14 to 16 hours a day. [13] Each year in the US, approximately 70 million poinsettias are sold in a period of six weeks, at a value of US$250 million. Native to Mexico, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) can grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Infection by poinsettia branch-inducing phytoplasma is actually desirable, as it keeps the plants shorter with more flowers. The colored bracts—which are normally flaming red, with cultivars being orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled—are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but are actually leaves. [13], The tropical dry forests where wild poinsettias grow experience largely unregulated deforestation, resulting in habitat loss. Anatomy of a Poinsettia. The holotype had been collected in Mexico during an 1803–1804 expedition by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland. Usually an indoor plant, the poinsettia is hardy outdoors all year in U.S. Department of … The bracts on the poinsettia plant need a little help to return to their original red color year after year. Though often stated to be highly toxic, the poinsettia is not dangerous[3] to pets or children. Each cup-shaped cyathium has a red, fringed top, and contains many male stamens, each of which is a single flower. The poinsettia (/pɔɪnˈsɛtiə/ or /pɔɪnˈsɛtə/)[1][2] (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). They were cultivated by the Aztecs for use in traditional medicine. [29], Albert Ecke emigrated from Germany to Los Angeles in 1900, opening a dairy and orchard in the Eagle Rock area. Learn about Facts, Growing and Caring Tips of Poinsettia Plant The plant drops its bracts and leaves soon after those flowers shed their pollen. Exposure to the plant, even consumption, most often results in no effect,[4] though it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.[3]. I […] Those bracts between the true red bracts and the plant's regular leaves start out green but change to red.But varieties can be cultivated so that poinsettia bracts sport other color options. Hidden from view, deep within the cyathium is a single, very small female flower composed of a pistil and ovary. Known as Christmas Stars, the Poinsettia is a staple Christmas plant for the home. The key to getting your poinsettia to turn red (or to re-shade), is the elimination of light. The plants also require abundant light during the day for the brightest color. Maybe the best known example is the poinsettia. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who is credited with introducing the plant to the US in the 1820s. Poinsettia bracts range in color from the traditional pure white, pink or red to purple, yellow, orange and salmon. Skin exposure to the sap may cause itchiness, redness, or swelling. [30], In the late 1980s, university researcher John Dole[31] discovered the method previously known only to the Eckes and published it, allowing competitors to flourish, particularly those using low-cost labor in Latin America. Some bracts are showy with distinct marbling or edging in contrasting colors. The colors of the bracts are created through photoperiodism, meaning that they require darknes… Specific details about its spread from there are largely unverifiable, but it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 1829 by Colonel Robert Carr. Poinsettia life cycle may seem a bit complicated, but this short-day plant must satisfy certain growing requirements in order to bloom. The part of the poinsettia that many refer to as the flower is not the true flower of the poinsettia plant. If you want your poinsettia to turn red again, you have to force it. Populations can be up to several hundred individuals, but this is not typical. A poinsettia left to grow on its own will naturally take an open, somewhat weedy look. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are tender perennial shrubs native to Mexico. Bract, Modified, usually small, leaflike structure often positioned beneath a flower or inflorescence. As crazy at it sounds, it is darkness that will bring a poinsettia into full color. The familiar red blooms have been joined by even flashier colors. The poinsettias true flowers form a cluster of small yellow blooms that are surrounded by the colored bracts. Many of these poinsettias are grown by the Ecke family business, which serves half the worldwide market and 70% of the US market. [15] Contact with any part of the plant by children or pets often has no effect, though it may cause nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting if swallowed.