Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Flowers

Red and White Poinsettias around baby Jesus
Three Christmas Flowers are very popular at this time of the year, and this is a little information on each of them:
The Poinsettia - (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a culturally and commercially important plant species of the diverse family that is indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.
The Christmas Cactus with its pink flowers
The Christmas Cactus - (Schlumbergera) is a small genus of cacti with six species found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity and can be quite different in appearance from their desert-dwelling cousins. Most species of Schlumbergera have stems which resemble leaf-like pads joined one to the other and flowers which appear from areoles at the joints and tips of the stems. In Brazil, the genus is referred to as Flor de Maio (May flower), reflecting the period in which they flower in the Southern Hemisphere. This genus contains the popular house plants known by a variety of names including Christmas Cactus, Thanksgiving Cactus, Crab Cactus and Holiday Cactus. In Europe, these plants are largely produced for sale in the period before Christmas, and are called:  Weihnachtskaktus in German, Cactus de Noël in French, and Cacto de Navidad in Spanish.
The Star of Bethlehem
Star of Bethlehem - (Ornithogalum) is a genus of perennial plants mostly native to southern Europe and southern Africa belonging to the family Asparagaceae. There are some species native to other areas such as the Caucasus. Growing from a bulb, species have linear basal leaves and a slender stalk, up to 30 cm or more tall, bearing clusters of typically white star-shaped flowers, often striped with green. The common name of the genus, Star-of-Bethlehem, is based on its star-shaped flowers, after the Star of Bethlehem that appeared in the Biblical account of the birth of Jesus.

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