Friday, November 30, 2007


Joel Robert Poinsett is often credited with discovering the plant named in his honor when he was the US ambassador to Mexico in the early 1800s. It was the Albert Ecke, however, who saw the potential for a plant that "flowered" during the holiday season. The first plants were field grown and the Ecke family sold them from roadside stands in Southern California. Eventually, plant breeders developed varieties that better withstood being grown in containers in greenhouses. It is interesting to note that 90 percent of all the flowering poinsettias got their start at the Paul Ecke Ranch.
Here are some other interesting facts about poinsettias compiled by the University of Illinois:
They are not poisonous. A study at The Ohio State University showed that a 50 pound child who ate 500 bracts might suffer a slight tummy ache.
The "flowers" are actually colorful bracts, or modified leaves. The flowers are clustered in the center of the bract.
A fresh poinsettia is one which shows little or no yellow pollen in the center of the bract.
The Paul Ecke Ranch grows 80 percent of the poinsettias grown for the wholesale market. The poinsettias that Countyside grows come from several different sources. We get them as cuttings and start planting them around July 4th!
There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias, although red remains the favorite(74% of those polled), followed by white (8%) and pink (6%).
To the right are pictures of some of the more unique poinsettia varieties that we grow. My favorite is the Cortez Fire. I also like its cousin, Cortez Hot Pink. The Winter Rose is very unique with its curly bracts. However, I see that I forgot to take a picture of Micheal's favorite, the Cinnimon Star. You'll have to come into the store to see that one!

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