Plant Collector: the cream poinsettia

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Christmas is over and my time is running out. But having featured the traditional red Christmas poinsettia in Plant Collector in December, I could not resist sharing this variation. This is the cream poinsettia, spotted outside a Sydney florist. Before you get too excited at this novelty, I must tell you that the photo is flattering. The reality was that the plants appeared somewhat murky in colour and insipid to boot. Not chic.

A net search tells me that this is just another form of Euphorbia pulcherrima from Mexico and is but one of many variations of this species. The poinsettia market may be predominantly – almost solely, even – disposable house plants but it is clearly huge. Any such market has a taste for novelties and new releases. Who knew that there were poinsettias that resembled curly kale? Nasty variegations that could pass for coleus? All manner of colours and combinations are attainable for the poinsettia. To be honest, merely being a somewhat insipid and off-colour cream is the least of the transgressions.

Keep to the red Christmas poinsettia is my advice. While not original and arguably lacking in sophisticated allure, it is at least a handsome plant of merit in its place and time.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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