The holiday season would not be complete without one or more poinsettias in your house, but how much do you know about these plants? While nearly everyone knows that the flowers are the small yellow buds and it’s the leaves that have the bright colors, there are many facts that you will not have heard before . I found an article by Dr Leonard Perry from The University of Vermont who has unearthed all sorts of strange facts about these plants.

Do you like trivia, or at least learning more about the top-selling holiday plant? If so, perhaps you will be interested in a dozen fun facts about the poinsettia plants you buy and see everywhere each December.
Fact 1: Did you know that the poinsettia’s main attraction is not its flowers, but its leaves? The flowers of the plant are the yellow clustered buds in the center (termed ?cyathia?). The colored leafy parts are actually bracts or modified leaves, that turn color in response to the plant forming flowers. When buying a poinsettia, make sure it has the buds, preferably not yet open.
Fact 2. Red is the most popular color, accounting for roughly three-quarters of all sales nationwide, followed by white and pink. The more than 100 varieties of poinsettias come in a range of colors from red, salmon, and apricot to yellow, cream, and white (but not blue?these are a designer color created with dyes). There are also unusual speckled or marbled varieties with several colors blended together. New varieties are introduced yearly.
Fact 3. How many poinsettias do you think are sold in a year? According to the 2014 USDA Floriculture Crops report, poinsettias accounted for about one-fifth (19 percent) of sales of all flowering potted plants. In economic terms, that’s $146 million out of a total of $778 million in sales of all flowering potted plants, with about 35 million pots sold.? This makes them the highest selling potted flowering plant.
Fact 4. Although every state in the United States grows poinsettias commercially, California is the top producer with almost 7 million pots grown, followed by North Carolina with 4.3 million pots sold, Texas with 3.3 million, Florida with 3.2 million, and Ohio with 2.9 million poinsettias sold.
Fact 5. Did you know that in the wild, or planted in tropical climates, the poinsettia can reach heights of 12 feet with leaves measuring six to eight inches across? It is actually a small tropical tree (Euphorbia pulcherrima) belonging to the Euphorbia plant family.

Read the rest at University of Vermont
Image source: Liz West