10 Interesting Facts about Poinsettias and Amaryllis

10 Interesting Facts about Poinsettias and Amaryllis
Amaryllis bulb

This evening we bought an Amaryllis bulb to grow at home. I've seen these bulbs sold around Christmas before, but I didn't know much about them. The Poinsettia seems to have the upper hand on the Amaryllis, or at least it seems that way because they're everywhere this time of year.

Poinsettia

Poinsettias

We brought our Amaryllis bulb home, put some water in the vase and placed it in our kitchen window, which gets the most amount of sunlight. I decided to read up a little on this flower and the Poinsettia.

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Here are 10 interesting facts about these holiday beauties:

1. Poinsettias are not poisonous. A 50 lb. child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to suffer any harmful effects. However, they should be kept away from pets, who can become ill after eating the leaves.

2. Amaryllis originate from South America and South Africa and can come in shades of orange, pink, red, white and salmon.

3. Poinsettias were first introduced to the United States by botanist and physician, Joel Roberts Poinsett, who brought them from Mexico.

4. Amaryllis means "to sparkle" in Greek.

5. The colored parts of Poinsettias are not actually flowers, but bracts (modified leaves).

6. Amaryllis is considered an easy to grow bulb and can last for 75 years, if well cared for.

7. Aztecs used Poinsettias for many things including fabric dyes and fever reducers.

8. Amaryllis are also known as "knight stars" and "naked ladies."

9. Poinsettias are the most popular holiday plant, with close to 60 million dollars worth being sold in the six weeks prior to Christmas.

10. Amaryllis naturally bloom in the spring, however bulbs can be prepared or "forced" to bloom in December.

Sources and more fun facts:

University of Illinois Extension: Poinsettia Facts

SF Gate: Facts on Amaryllis

North Carolina State University Extension: Potted Amaryllis

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Filed under: Christmas, plants, winter

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