Poin­set­tias: ‘Cuet­lax­ochill’, the flower of Christ­mases

The Palm Beach Post - Residences - - Front Page -

Is it poi­sonous? Do dogs and kids tend to eat them? Is it only nasty to the taste with lit­tle power to poi­son when in­gested?

I wrote about this plant 20 years ago — its bad rep­u­ta­tion and its power to kill. It will cause vom­it­ing if the leaves are eaten by a dog, cat or child. It was used by the Aztecs to con­trol fevers. Mon­tezuma, the last of the Aztec kings, would have car­a­vans of poin­set­tias brought to Mex­ico City be­cause the high al­ti­tude would pre­vent the growth of the plant.

How should you treat your hol­i­day plant? En­joy it as a house­hold plant dur­ing the hol­i­days and then find it a safe place in the gar­den/ land­scape to grow. Re­mem­ber that to make the bril­liant col­ors of the plant come true, you must find a place in the gar­den that al­lows you to shield the plant from ar­ti­fi­cial light dur­ing the last two months be­fore the bloom of hol­i­day color.

I had mine for about 10 years un­til a over zeal­ous gar­dener mowed down my hol­i­day charm. My next ad­ven­ture is to grow a choco­late plant. I hear they do quite well in our Zone 10. I had a one in Cuba back in the 50’s and it did well in­side. If you have any ques­tions or prob­lems give me a call at 561-744-4750 or e-mail e at [email protected]

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