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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Poinsettias and the season

Poinsettias (however you pronounce it) have been a symbol of the holiday season for many decades. I love them! The brightly colored part of the plant, however, is not the "flower", it's the leaves (or technically the bracts).
In nature, the Poinsettia is a shrub or small tree that grows in Central America - mainly Mexico. The 3 - 6 inch leaves can be red, pale green, cream, pink, light orange or white. Contrary to urban legend, the leaves are only very mildly toxic; to the same degree that acorns are toxic. They only cause harm if someone eats hundreds of them (who would?).

In its native Mexico it is often called "Bent El Consul" or "the Consul's daughter", referring to the former U.S. ambassador Joel Poinsett.

Marbled Godwit
An incredible record has been set by a small, unusual-looking bird - a Godwit - the Bar-tailed species. Scientists recorded a migration flight of 7,257 miles between Alaska and New Zealand - diagonally across the entire Pacific Ocean. It was done without resting along the way, across nothing but water, non-stop. 

1 comment:

  1. I wonder what the poinsettia looked like before it was bred into the current form. Perhaps it was more like a native Euphorbia we have in central Texas:

    I have to question the statement that "In its native Mexico [poinsettia] is often called 'Bent El Consul' or 'the Consul's daughter'...." That phrase appears to be in Arabic rather than an indigenous language of Mexico like Nahuatl, for example.