- The Poinsettia forms a culturally and commercially important plant that evolved as indigenous to Mexico, in North America, and also Central America.
- It remains well known for its red and green foliage. The breathtaking and fascinating continues to be widely used in Christmas decorations.
- Many individuals mistake the brilliant red bracts for which the species has become famous for flower petals. In fact, they actually represent leaves.
- The variety popular as a Christmas tradition, especially in the United States, actually constitutes a specially grafted variety.
Poinsettia Physical Description
The Poinsettia occurs naturally as either a shrub or small tree. The rather remarkable tree form has the ability to reach a height of as much as 16 ft (4 m).
It bears dark green leaves that average between 3-6 in (7-16 cm) in length.
The species produces bracts that most commonly display the familiar bright red. However, it sometimes develops as either orange, cream, pale green, pink, white or marbled, in color.
The natural varieties left to their own devices, typically grow into a wider form more closely resembling weeds.
Species: E. pulcherrima
Poinsettia Habitat and Toxicity
Due to its grouping and color, many people often mistake the bracts of the Poinsettia for flowers. Yet despite their appearance, they, in fact, remain leaves.
The actual blooms stay small, unassuming, and do not attract pollinators. The plant appears in the wild in both tropical forests and seasonally dry forests.
There remains a common misconception concerning the toxicity of the Poinsettia. It does indeed rank as toxic, but only slightly. Ingestion rarely results in more than mild symptoms such as regurgitation.
Additionally, prolonged contact with the leaves results in only mild skin irritation in sensitive individuals.