- Firstly, the very beautiful Poinsettia remains a culturally and commercially important plant in many parts of the world. Nevertheless, it evolved as indigenous to only a specific portion of the world. That consists of Mexico, in North America, and also Central America.
- However, this magnificent species of flora remains best known for the stunning red and green foliage it produces. The breathtaking and fascinating plant further continues to be highly popular for one specific reason. That’s because it remains widely used in Christmas decorations.
- But, some common misconceptions about the gorgeous Poinsettia remain, even today. Among these, is the fact that many individuals mistake the brilliant red bracts, for which the species has become famous for, for flower petals. In fact, these actually represent the leaves of the plant.
- But, yet another fact remains little known to most of the individuals who enjoy its beauty each year. That’s due to the fact that the variety popular as a Christmas tradition actually constitutes a specially grafted variety. This variety continues to be popular, though, especially in the United States.
Poinsettia Physical Description
Perhaps most notably, the remarkable Poinsettia represents one of those uncommon plants that evolved a unique capacity. That’s because this stunning and incredible plant occurs naturally as either a shrub or small tree. Further, the relatively remarkable tree form also has an impressive ability. In fact, it has the capacity to grow to heights measuring as much as an impressive 16 ft (4 m).
The lovely Poinsettia also 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.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Tracheophytes
- Class: Angiosperms
- Order: Eudicots
- Family: Euphorbiaceae
- Genus: Euphorbia
- Species: E. pulcherrima
Poinsettia Habitat and Toxicity
Currently, the breathtaking Poinsettia grows in many parts of the world. However, this widespread dispersal occurs only due to its popularity in cultivation. However, since the species originally evolved in Mexico and Central America, it still only appears within a very specific habitat range and type in the wild.
That holds true because the vast majority of those still growing wild in the original range appear in one specific area. This habitat consists specifically of gentle slopes, facing the Pacific Ocean. Even more specifically, these only develop at roughly mid-range altitudes. But, one small grouping does appear further inland.
In addition, a common misconception concerning the relative toxicity of the Poinsettia still remains. The plant does indeed rank as toxic, but only slightly. Ingestion rarely results in more than mild symptoms such as regurgitation. Finally, prolonged contact with the leaves results in only mild skin irritation in sensitive individuals.