On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Seven poinsettia shrubs
In Mexico (where they originated), poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are tall shrubs or small trees. It was brought to the United Stated by Joel Poinsett, who was the first person to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
On a poinsettia, the true flowers are small and insignificant. You can see them above as the small yellow parts in the middle of the red and white bracts. A bract is a special kind of leaf that has been modified.
Contrary to popular lore, poinsettia is not poisonous. The sap can be irritating though. Marie from Gardening has information about the sap problem and how to care for your poinsettia all year.
Last winter Lisa from Pool & Patio and I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Paul Ecke Poinsettia Ranch. Located in Encinitas, California, they supply the cuttings for 50% of the world's poinsettia plants. She's put together a beautiful gallery showcasing some of the varieties we saw. There are so many more colors than red these days!