MALP Educational Meeting—Free to the public
Topic: Poinsettias with Ann Emmsley
Date: Tuesday November 27, 2012
Place:: Maui Community Service Bldg next to CTHAR Extension Services (Map) on the UH Maui campus.
Time: Pupus will be served at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00.
Poinsettias have become a festive symbol for the holidays as a table centerpiece, a hostess gift, or, in tropical climates like Hawaii, a landscape statement. Ann will cover the history of poinsettias from their discovery to the traits of modern poinsettias. She will discuss the tried and true varieties and explore the array of new cultivars becoming available. Growing tips will be offered for all settings from potted plants to landscape use. She will give tips on the best methods for propagation, fertilization, irrigation, pruning, pest control and growth regulation.
Ann Emmsley has been working at the University of Hawaii, Maui College since 1988. She is currently a Professor and Program Coordinator for the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. She teaches a variety of courses including landscaping, horticulture, crop production, pest management, and irrigation. Ann has been growing poinsettias for the annual poinsettia sale at the Maui campus for over 15 years.
There will be a raffle for several poinsettia plants at the end of the meeting. Each attendee will receive one free ticket. Additional tickets may be purchased for $1 each.
a post from Jessica Story, Meadowbrook Farm
Poinsettias are NOT poisonous, they are the most studied decorative plant ever and no toxic effects have been found. In 1919 a 2 year old child of an army officer was found dead under a Poinsettia tree in Hawaii with poinsettia leaves in her hand. The investigation cleared the plant, but the record was never set straight and it has become an urban legend.
In nearly 23,000 recorded cases of Poinsettia ingestion, no life-threatening effect has ever been reported. The equivalent of a child eating over 600 leaves was tested and found to have little or no effect. Vomiting and diarrhea, while unpleasant, is the most likely result for a child or animal that did consume the leaves.
Interesting note-the Poinsettia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society have a long history together-the first public introduction of the plant was at the first Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Flower Show in 1829)
Like a number of common houseplants, many common holiday plants are mildly toxic, but are so foul-tasting that ingesting enough to cause harm would be difficult. Holly and Mistletoe probably pose the most risk, because the berries can be swallowed whole. Jerusalem Cherry is extremely toxic and should be avoided in households with young children. Ornamental peppers may cause discomfort like any other hot pepper, but are not toxic.
Other common “toxic” holiday plants (safe to use, just use common sense too!)
Yew, as cut greens
Juniper berries on cut greens
Have you ever had a problem with children or pets eating any of these holiday plants?
Poinsettias can transition from Christmas into New Year’s decorations with some additional flair. Get dried, curly ting ting plant branches from a florist or craft supply shop, and place the stems into the pot and among the poinsettia foliage.
Ting ting comes in silver, gold, red, green and natural colors. Floral supply shops also carry spray glitter that is safe for plants. Simply changing the container or decorative wrap will also freshen up the plants to carry into next year.
Poinsettias are native to Central America and tropical Mexico. A botanist and diplomat named Joel Robert Poinsett, who served as a U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1829, is credited with making this plant known throughout the world.
Poinsettias of today look much different from those found growing in the tropics. Short, bushy types have been developed for indoor holiday decoration. Intensive hybridization has resulted in beautiful new colors, including cream, yellow, peach, pink, improved reds and marbled and speckled bracts. The modern hybrids also hold their color for many weeks, lasting through the holidays and into the new year.
The brilliant color of the poinsettia does not come from the flowers, but rather the bracts. Bracts, often mistaken for flower petals, are actually modified leaves. The true flowers are small, yellow buttons, called cyathia, in the center of the colorful bracts. In November and December, when the days grow shorter, the colorful bracts begin to form.
Christmas is right around the corner and shoppers are out in record numbers. Folks are almost obsessed with getting their trees, poinsettias and gifts for family and friends. If you enjoy giving living plants for Christmas, consider giving poinsettias.
Last week, Russell Nagata wrote about the history of poinsettias. Today, let’s focus on purchase, propagation and care of this amazing plant.
Poinsettias, especially in Kona, are in spectacular color now. Although mainland folks think of the poinsettia as a Christmas flower, for us it blooms from late October through March. So if you don’t have a showy supply in your home and garden, now’s the time to start looking for them on the market.
Purchasing potted stock from a garden center or nursery is the easiest way to establish plantings of the holiday ornamental. However, some green thumb operators scavenge the neighborhood for hardwood cuttings when fellow gardeners prune their poinsettias following the flowering season. Getting plants this way can make you feel like a turkey if you choose cuttings from disease infected plants. If you get healthy plants, you can be sure to avoid “fowl” play.
There are a number of poinsettias available. They come in traditional reds or you can enjoy color combinations indoors and in the garden if you mingle the red plantings with white and pink varieties.
by Russell T. Nagata
Special To West Hawaii Today
If it weren’t for the highly colored leaves, the poinsettia would be best known by some other name. Its scientific name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, literally means “most beautiful Euphorbia.” The true flowers of the poinsettia are called cyathia and are the green and white beads tipped with yellow and red in the center of the flowers. The showy parts of the plants are actually modified leaves called bracts.
The poinsettia grows wild in southern Mexico and naturally blooms under the shorter daylight hours of the fall season. The Aztec name for this plant was cuetlaxochitl and was use in many ways. A purplish dye was extracted from the colorful bracts to be used in textiles and cosmetics and the latex sap was used to treat fevers.
The plant was introduced into the United States by Joel Poinsett, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 1825-29. Although trained in the medical profession, Poinsett’s real love was botany. On a trip to the Taxco area in 1828, he collected the brilliant red flowering plants and grew them at his South Carolina farm. He distributed the plants to friends, who distributed it to their friends and so on. It’s easy to see how the name originated.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the poinsettia. And in case you have forgotten your poinsettia facts since last year here’s a refresher on what you need to know about this festive plant.
Whether poinsettias are in the traditional velvety red color or any of the new streaked, spotted or dyed forms of plum, peach, blueberry, orange or cranberry colors, these plants help set the stage for a great holiday celebration.
For all the cheer that poinsettias bring, there are still some people that look upon this festive plant as poison. Stop, let it be said up front — poinsettias are not poisonous! This myth started almost ninety years ago in Hawaii and amazingly still continues to this day. Apparently an Army officer’s two-year-old child died after supposedly eating a poinsettia leaf. The Physician who made the diagnosis later realized he had identified the wrong plant. He had planned to return to the mainland to correct his error when he suddenly died (unrelated to poinsettias) and the story spread and spread. Although it was later determined to be a case of incorrect plant identification, many people still believed that poinsettias are poisonous.
As recently as 1995, sixty-six percent of people surveyed by the Society of American Florists believed that poinsettias were poisonous even though there was a lot of evidence to disprove this myth. Researchers at Ohio State University tested the effects of ingesting high doses of leaves, stems and sap and found the plant non-toxic.
The public is invited to the “Christmas in Bethlehem” Fair at the Parish of St. Clement, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at 1515 Wilder Ave.
The fair will include live Nativity scene pageants, readings and carols, and Bethlehem-themed children’s games, crafts and face painting. Other offerings include a food court including barbecue and Tongan and Mediterranean foods.
The Cherubim Marketplace will feature baked goods, jams and preserves; and the Bazaar will offer unique and handcrafted goods.
Poinsettia plants will be sold for $10 each but can be ordered in advance for $8.
The chance to win trips and luxury items will be available in the Three Kings Silent Auction.
Scrip for food, marketplace and kids games is available in advance at the church office between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.; by calling 955-7745; or e-mailing email@example.com.
Craft Fairs & Markets
Hoala Winter Craft Sale A variety of craft, food and specialty booths. Hoala School, 1067 A California Ave.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–3pm) 621-1898
Mamo Arts Market The arts market features Native Hawaiian artisans, keiki activities and live music. Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–5pm) Free. 847-3511
36th Annual Mayor’s Craft Sale The yearly event features unique handmade items created by city senior clubs, along with other exciting arts, crafts and entertainment. Neal Blaisdell Center, 777 Ward Ave.: Sat., 12/4, (9am–2pm) Free. 768-3045
“It’s Really Nice” Fine Arts & Crafts Show A fine arts and crafts show through the holidays. [www.louispohlgallery.com]. Louis Pohl Gallery, 1111 Nuuanu Ave.: Runs through Tue., 12/28, 521-1812
7th Annual Christmas in Honolulu An evening craft fair with local art, clothing, soup mixes, jewelry, ceramics, purses and more. Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, 2454 South Beretania St.: Tue., 11/30, (5–8:30pm) Free. 734-3693
12 Ways of Christmas A dozen craft artisans showcase one-of-a-kind items. Cafe Laufer, 3565 Waialae Ave., Mon., 11/29, (5–9pm) 753-3611