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Welcome to Floridata!

I'm still recovering from a bout of flu and I haven't started my Christmas shopping yet but I do have a good crop of amaryllis sprouting on the windowsill so my holiday preps are going well and I hope your's are too! Have a Holly Jolly Christmas (caution: ear worm!) and be good and grow! ~ Jack   December 16, 2014

Happy Holidays!

Species Poinsettia
Steve sent us pictures of a very cold-hardy selection of "wild" poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) that grows in his Zone 8 garden at Lake Talquin in Florida's panhandle. I think they're every bit as pretty the modern fancy poinsettia varieties but potted versions would be difficult to put on the coffee table as the plants soar to over 10 feet in height depending on growing conditions.

Picture Gallery

DaVinci poinsettia Poinsettia
The church I attended as a child displayed a beautiful life size nativity scene next to the altar. Surrounding the it were dozens of white poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) . A wonderful aroma of flowers and fir filled the air. It was years later until I discovered that poinsettias have no scent. I suspect that a few white lilies where scattered about just to add awesomeness. Click to download a large version (800x600) to put poinsettia on your desktop.

'Freedom Coral' Poinsettia

The 'Freedom Coral' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) has brilliant coral bracts that have made it one of the season's best selling non-red selections. Click to download a large version (800x600) of this image. Visit the Poinsettia Gallery to see more varieties that you can download to wallpaper your desktop.

'Strawberries and Cream' Poinsettia

'Strawberries and Cream' is a novelty poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) that has red bracts variegated with swirls of mellow off-white cream. Click to download a large version (800x600). Visit the Poinsettia Gallery to see more varieties that you can download to wallpaper your desktop.

Visit the Wallpaper Browser page to see more than 1,500 larger format (800x600px) plant images. Links to these images are also present in the title area of each Plant Profile.

Articles & Resources

Lana's Christmas tree
Lana'i Christmas Tree
Bruce photographed this Cook Island Pine (Araucaria columnaris) on the Hawaiian island of Lana'i all decked out for Christmas. This species is a cousin of the more familiar Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla). Small specimens of these are decorated and sold as desktop Christmas trees. Download a large version for your computer desktop.

click to visit the Butterfly Gallery
Butterfly Gallery

I don't write my monthly journals any longer but I wish I did. I've been reading some of my old Gardener's Journals last week and became happily nostalgic reviewing my December gardening activities from years past. If you are looking to burn some time, check out the links below. Jack

Gardener's Journal 2001 This one has a disturbing beginning (explaining why I changed my call name from John to Jack - postscript:, the guy died...). Later on the tone lightens when the subject turns from predators to painkillers, persimmons to poinsettias and unplanned papayas to prickly pears. Read December 2001.

Gardener's Journal 2003 It was a year of farewells and welcomes to dear friends and family members. In the yard we lost the Thunder Oak and I trimmed a juniper into a helix so I could call it a "Screw Yew" but that seemed too smart-alecky so I didn't. Read December 2003.

Gardener's Journal 2004 - This was the December of the shocking Asian Tsunami which mostly freaked me out too much to write about. Instead, you'll read about house snakes, goats, pigs, shooting stars and having a friend for dinner. Read December 2004.

Visit Floridata's Resource and Articles page.

The Eurphorbs

crown of thorns
Euphorbia milii

Our holiday poinsettias, cultivars of the the species Euphorbia pulcherrima, are members of the botanical family Euphorbiaceae. It is a large and diverse family as demonstrated by the following list.

Some euphorbs are very ornamental like:
chenille plant (Acalypha hispida)
copperleaf (Acalypha wilkesiana)
croton (Codiaeum variegatum var. pictum)
Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias)
myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites)

castor bean
Ricinus communis

Some are extremely toxic but still useful:
castor bean (Ricinus communis)
Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum)
pencil tree (Euphorbia tirucalli)
peregrina (Jatropha integerrima)
physic nut (Jatropha multifida)
tung tree (Aleurites fordii)

Manihot esculenta
One of the poinsettia's relatives is even edible and is a major source of sustenance for millions of people living in tropical areas. Wild cassava (Manihot esculenta) is toxic but the fleshy roots of cultivated ("sweet") forms are processed into flour as well as the pseudo-desert tapioca.

Floridata Master Plant List
The Floridata Plant Encyclopedia profiles all kinds of plants for every kind of climate. Visit the master Plant Profile List page that organizes species alphabetically by botanical name. Use the FloridataGrid page for advanced sorting, filtering and searching of the database.

Plant Tag Lists
Plant Type Tags
One or more "tags", represented as icons, are are assigned to a species to indicate plant form form and type.
Feature Tags
These tags are assigned to a species to summarize characteristics and uses.


Behold the Stinkhorns

Stinkhorn in Egg Stage

A Stinkhorn "Hatching"

They look like they're from outer space and smell like they're from hell. Cool damp weather at this time of year brings Stinkhorn Season in The South. You can detect their presence long before I spied them hatching in a patch of grass. I first wrote about them in a 2002 Gardener's Journal, and more about them and their cousins, the deadmen's fingers fungus, in this 2005 posting Fall Fiesta of Fungus. Click here to download the stinkhorn for a closer look.

For even more on the stinkhorn, read Ginny's article Pee-yew! Those Smelly Stinkhorn Fungi

Holiday Plants

eastern hemlock
Eastern Hemlock

The eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is an evergreen tree. It can also be pruned as a shrub that also looks particularly nice strung with with Christmas light - especially when blanketed with a layer of fresh snow.

American holly
Ilex opaca

The American holly is a holiday favorite and one of our most beautiful trees. Light gray bark, brilliant berries and glossy evergreen make for maximum winter interest that is especially attractive under a frosting of fresh fallen snow.

Castanea sativa

Like Floridata

Here's a collection of links to some plants traditionally associated with the holidays:
mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum)
poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
...and traditional fruits and nuts of the season:
pecans (Carya illinoinensis )
chestnuts (Castanea sativa)
walnuts (Juglans nigra)
satsuma tangerines (Citrus reticulata )
oranges (Citrus sinensis)
Japanese persimmons (Diospyros kaki)
dates (Phoenix dactylifera)
kumquat (Fortunella margarita)
pomegranate (Punica granatum)
...try forcing these to bloom indoors for color and fragrance throughout the holidays:
amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp)
hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
paperwhite narcissus (Narcissus spp)

© 1996-2013 LC
Tallahassee, Florida USA

v7.2 August 9, 2011