Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Poinsettia Flowers

 

Poinsettia -  Euphorbia pulcherrima

 
Since the holiday are approaching, I thought I might show my Euphorbia pulcherrima flowering.   While not really a succulent, it is a pretty plant, but it really isn't the flowers that produce the color, instead, the plant produces large, colorful 'bracts,' which are modified leaves.  The true flowers are small, and are borne right at the top of the plant above the colorful bracts.
 
 
Below is a close up of the true poinsettia flowers.  They're not unattractive, but they are minor when compared with the flamboyant bracts.  What looks like individual flowers in euphorbias are actually a collection of flowers called a cyathium.  Each cyanthium contains a single female flower in the center, surrounded by many males flowers. 

 
 
The poinsettia is native to Mexico and was brought to the U.S. and popularized by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

8 comments:

  1. Very seasonal. Nice colourful bracts.

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    1. Hi Alain. The poinsettia shown is a cultivar called 'Jingle Bells'. During my career at the university I spent a lot of time working with local poinsettia growers. Between the weather, insects, and diseases, poinsettias are a real pain to grow successfully, but when they do, they are very beautiful. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

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  2. Thank you for the info and beautiful photos! I didn't know about the ambassador.

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  3. Thank you Marla. Poinsettias have a very interesting history, both in Mexico and later after they were brought to the U.S. and turned into a major horticultural crop. Joel Poinsett was not only an ambassador, but also an avid gardener. For a short story about Poinsett and poinsettia history check
    http://www.ecke.com/company/historyofthepoinsettia/
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.

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  4. Always 1000s of poinsettias in the shops this time of year. Is there a need for control of light exposure?

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    1. Alain, I'm not sure about your question? Poinsettias are short-day plants. The shortening daylight of early autumn triggers healthy plants to flower and flower initiation also triggers the coloration of the upper leaves. If you want poinsettia plants to flower and produce the red bracts (leaves) at Christmas, you must make certain they receive less than 10 hours of light (actually its the length of the dark period that really causes the flower initiation effect). Days become naturally short enough to initiate flowering in late September, but any type of artificial light will interfere with the process. Short days should be maintained until flowering is well underway, usually late November.
      This time of year any poinsettia for sale is well into flowering and short days are no longer important; in fact now you should try to give a poinsettia as much light as possible to extend the flowering period and keep the plant looking its best. It is very difficult to grow a poinsettia from cutting to finished flowering plant. If you are a grower, you have to worry about height, color, stem strength, and several very nasty insects and fungal diseases. Poinsettia growers are always stressed from September through late November. I was always glad to be an educator rather than a grower.

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    2. You have answered the query very fully Bob. Thank you. Happy holidays.

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  5. If you are need flower plant then here is flowering plants Very striking, bold upright spikes dense with pea-like flowers, in intense blues to creams. Best placed at the back of the border for cutting, or naturalizing. Stately 3 ft spikes in wide color range and many lovely bicolor, bloom from May to June. Attractive foliage. Prefers cool weather.

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