Dec. 25, 2017

wild poinsettia, Euphorbia cyathophora

Poinsettias were brought here from Mexico by our ambassador, Joel Poinsett, in 1822. Even before then they were a ceremonial symbol in their native area. I started seeing small plants that I assumed were deprived poinsettias when I was very young. Among other places, they were weedy in our yard in Saudi Arabia. It turns out that these smaller plants with less color were a different species. Wild poinsettia, more often called fire-on-the-mountain, is native in the U. S., and has spread to many places. In Arabia, I always felt like they were a small reminder of Christmas. Of course the camels were bigger reminders. Fire-on-the-mountain grows in AL, AR, AZ, CA, FL, GA, HI, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, OR, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, and WI. Beal Gardens, MSU, 9/14/12.