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.
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' 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.
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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.
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.
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)
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)
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.