The Poinsettia is known as the Christmas Flower.
The red leafy plant blooms in December and has a rich history with the holiday season. The poinsettia is native to Southern Mexico and has been used in religious ceremonies for centuries.
In 1828, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Doctor Joel Poinsett, sent a clipping of the plant back to home in South Carolina. Dr. Poinsett shared the plant with other people and it was eventually called the Poinsettia.
In the 1960 researcher started breeding the plant to bloom longer. Today the poinsettia sales accounts for about a quarter of all flower sales in the US and California is the top producer of Poinsettias.
Park Greenhouse Ripon is not the largest poinsettia growers but they are one of the oldest.
“We have been growing Poinsettias since the 1990’s but the farm is over 100 years old,” said manager Gary Cover.
Park Greenhouse is a third generation family business and poinsettias make up a majority of their profit during the holiday season.
The poinsettia business is tough and the red plant is prone to disease and bug infestation. It takes a crew of about 20 people to harvest and sell the 20 thousand poinsettias at Park Greenhouse.
“We Plant in July it takes a lot of work to make sure they are ready for October, November and December," said Cover.
Red is the most popular color, but every few years Poinsettia breeders come out with new colors. White, orange, pink and speckled blends are just some of the Poinsettias grown.
Park Green house sells a blue Poinsettia but that is made by spraying a non-toxic blue dye on white Poinsettia leaves.
“Its popular!" said Cover. “It goes great in a silver pot.”
The poinsettia is a flower but most people mistake the leave for the flower.
"The true flower is in the middle," said Cover.
Another common misunderstanding is that the Poinsettia is poisonous to pets and humans. They are not according to The National Capitol Poison Control and the ASPCA who classify the plant as an irritant.
An Ohio State University study showed that a 50 pound child would have to eat more that 500 leaves to have any side effects.
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