Thursday, 24 November 2011

Poinsettia is a flower for Christmas and a member of the Spurge family


Pretty Poinsettias

Poinsettias can be seen in full bloom now in many parts of Tenerife where they are grown in gardens, parks and along roadsides. They form large bushes and small trees and are ablaze with their bright red bracts that have made the plant become associated with Christmas. The Poinsettia is actually a member of the large and varied Spurge family and is known to botanists as Euphorbia pulcherrima.

The Poinsettia is a very popular ornamental shrub or pot-plant in many other parts of the world too. In America and the UK, for example, these plants are just as important at Christmas time because of their festive colour.  In Tenerife Poinsettias are planted out in flower borders in parks and public places to make large colourful displays. They are also grown in pots to help beautify the house or to place on a terrace or balcony perhaps.

The Spurge family, to which the Poinsettia belongs, is a very interesting and very large group of plants. There are Euphorbia species that grow as small trees, others that look more like cacti and other types that look like ordinary plants with green leaves and stems. Some types are covered in thorns, some grow as succulents, and yet others are common weeds of gardens and fields. The one thing they all have in common is the toxic white juice or latex which will quickly ooze out if the plants are broken.

Many species of Euphorbia thrive on the island of Tenerife, both endemic species and exotic ornamental types like the Poinsettia that have been brought there. The warm climate suits these unusual plants very well.

Poinsettia is a flower for Christmas and a member of the Spurge family

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.
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