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Poinsettia8 January 2016
"flor de pascua"
"flor de pascua" / "estrella de navidad" / "poinsettia" / "nochebuena"
The ancient medicinal plant from Mexico today adorns many flower arrangements, on La Palma it grows in large shrubs.
Poinsettia belongs to the Euphorbia Shrubs and originally comes from Mexico
In early times it has been cultivated by the Atztecs as a symbol of purity and as a medicinal plant.
At Christmas time, Euphorbia pul-cherrima has meanwhile become the most popular ornamental plant worldwide.
On La Palma it is called „Flor de pascua“ - „estrella de navidad“ - „poinsettia“ or „nochebuena“.
Each year lots of them are planted in public gardens and on squares adding a fresh dash of red colour.
On the Plaza de España in Santa Cruz de La Palma flower pots string together and form round arches.
Stellar leaves get the message of Christmas across: red for love and green for hope.
At the same time, red coloured bracts are the ones to carry the blossoms.
They are small, golden yellow and red and are located on the top.
Just like in its native country, on the open land of the Isla Bonita Poinsettia grows in large shrubs.
It grows up to 3 meters tall and can be admired for example in Puntagorda or in a private garden at the turn-off point to the natural pools of Fajana in Barlovento.
Sometimes the „flor de pascua“ is blooming until Easter time, which is interestingly called „pascuas“ as well.
During the long nights occurring from the end of October until Christmas on La Palma, facilitate the plant's flowering process.
However, the plant whether tolerates too much sunlight nor the warm Africa wind, yet it needs lots of light. Depending on the weather, it needs watering once or twice a week.
Reproducing Poinsettias on La Palma is very easy
As soon as the plant effloresces, pruning enables shoot tips to sprout new „nochebuenas“.
They should be cut about 5 cm long and ideally have 2 - 3 strong leaves.
Cuttings put in flower pots quickly grow roots in conditions of high humidity.
Photos: Ines Dietrich, Uka Rösch