Poetry Friday: Holiday Plant Fun

At this time of year, as a gardener, my attention is naturally drawn to holiday plants. For years my fascination with Poinsettias, Christmas Cactus, Paperwhites, Amaryllis, and Mistletoe was handled by my ability to teach my elementary school garden club members about these living decorations we bring into our homes each year.

By researching all of the above plants, I found many of the facts surrounding their growth habits as well as how they snuck their way into our holiday celebrations to be interesting, so I share that interest with my students. The unit was so popular and met with such enthusiasm, I taught the same unit each December for twelve of the thirteen years I led the garden club.

Today, I decided to have a little fun with plant poetry. Although I am going to offer a draft of a poinsettia poem in a limerick style, I also wanted to share some poinsettia facts.

Facts

  1. Poinsettias are really tropical shrubs that grow naturally in Mexico. The first US embassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, brought a pointsettia back to the US with him after one of his visits to our neighbor to the South. It was 1826. The plant is named after him.
  2. When not cultivated, poinsettias grow quite tall. I ws able to stand next to one in December of 2015 when we were vacationing on the island of Maui. It was at least 12 feet high, growing alongside the road!
Carol on Haleakala bike ride next to a roadside Poinsettia. © J. Labuzzetta, 2015

3. Until 2012, most of the poinsettias were grown at the Paul Ecke Ranch in California. But, the ranch was sold off in 2012. California is still the largest producer of the plant.

4. The colorful parts of the poinsettias are not the flowers but instead modified leaves called bracts. The flower of the poinsettia is the tiny yellowish cluster in the center of each bract.

5. Poinsettias can be kept from year to year but need a long period of darkness to have their leaves (bracts) becoming colorful again.

6. Poinsettias do not like drafts! This is understandable when you consider they are tropical plants. Keep away from doorways and radiators!

7. Poinsettias have a mythic reputation for being poisonous but you’d have to ingest an awful lot to even make you somewhat sick by way of a stomach ache. Years ago, Ohio State University did a study to disprove the poisonous reputation of the plant. Still, the myth persists!

Poetry

So I played with the poinsettia today as a subject for a poem or two. Red is still the most popular of poinsettia colors. If you ever have a chance to go to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square Pennsylvania at holiday time, the Poinsettia displays there are swoon-worthy! Dr. Poinsett would be proud and amazed by the continuing beauty these plants provide us each year!

There was a plant named Poinsettia,
Did it have red leaves? You betcha! 
They adorn our holiday tables,
Some are even the subject of fables!
It'll always be loved by Labuzzetta!

© Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2021 (I think this is wonderfully awful!  But, it does make me laugh!)
A great reference book on Poinsettias from my bookshelf. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021
Red Poinsettias
Line walkways
Dot tables & alters
Form tall trees
Bringing joy to all!

© Unfinished Draft, Carol labuzzetta, 2021
Photo Credit: JillWellington, Pixabay Free Use License.

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host this week is Cathy at Merely Day by Day. Please check out her page for links to more poetry! Thanks for hosting, Cathy!

14 thoughts

  1. That was really interesting to read – I’ve never seen poinsettias in the wild and had no idea they grew that tall! I love how you’ve personalized your limerick. Thanks for sharing these today.

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    1. Thanks, Margaret. My husband used to buy me some very large poinsettias from Sam’s Club but since we got our dog (and, she was a puppy for a long time since she is a labrador), I stopped having them around. I think it’s time to go back to decorating with this plant! As you can tell, I am a fan as well!

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  2. I wish I’d thought of this winter plant focus for my years of Environmental Club! Brilliant! You taught me so much about poinsettias, then made me laugh when you worked Labuzzetta into the rhyme scheme!!

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    1. The kids in garden club loved the holiday plant unit. And, I learned so much when I researched the unit. It was a favorite of all! We forced paperwhite bulbs and/or took Christmas cactus cuttings as our hands-on activity! Fun!

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  3. I always love when poetry and information are combined. It’s often like a peek into the process of the writer. I love poinsettias though my luck with them is quite limited. After reading your post, I’m going to assume it is the open concept of our home (drafts everywhere) and life in a cold climate. I had no idea they could get so tall either! Thank you for this combination of delightful poems, beautiful photos, and interesting facts.

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I appreciate your thoughtful comment! We also have an open concept home and I just try to keep the poinsettias away from doors or windows (which can be hard), but doable for most. I love facts and using them in my writing! Thanks again for hosting Poetry Friday!

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  4. Carol, I enjoyed learning new facts about a plant that I just love at holiday time. I also enjoyed seeing your name as one of the rhyme schemes in your poem. The photo you shared is amazing.
    PS: Longwood Gardens is a beautiful place.

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