Fun Facts: A Botanical Holiday Edition

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Poinsettia, holly, mistletoe–there are a lot of plants associated with the holiday season! Here is a special botanical holiday edition of fun facts.

Did you know:

  • The poinsettia plant was originally cultivated by the Aztecs, who called the plantCuetlaxochitl or “flower which wilts.” They used it an anecdote to reduce fever. (Though it is often said that poinsettias are poisonous, they are not. However, beware that holly berries are!) The plant was first brought into the United States from Mexico by Joel Poinsett in the early 1800’s.
  • The growth of real Christmas trees in the United States is a half-billion-dollar industry. The biggest producers are the states of Oregon, Washington, North Carolina, and Michigan.
  • It takes between six and ten years to grow a Christmas tree big enough to sell. Most are ready for harvest at 6-7 feet. Almost all trees require shearing to attain the Christmas tree shape.
  • Once the selling season is over, it’s estimated that 73 million new Christmas trees will be planted this year.
  • In the first week, a tree in your home will consume as much as a quart of water per day.
  • Mistletoe is considered an obligate parasitic plant in the order Santalales. There are 1,300 species worldwide.
  • Only two kinds of mistletoe are native to the United States. One is dwarf mistletoe. The kind associated with kissing is American mistletoe.
  • Twenty kinds of mistletoe are endangered, so be careful what you hang over your doorway this holiday season!


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