UNH Campus Journal
UNH  |  Calendar  |  Storm/Emergency
Home | Archive | Subscribe/Unsubscribe Contact

Second Annual Poinsettia Trials Open House Dec. 5-7

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
November 28, 2007

David Goudreault photos

The second annual poinsettia open house at the UNH research greenhouses next week will feature about 100 varieties of the plant that has come to personify the holiday season.

Joel Poinsett would never believe it.

Not just that there is now such an assortment of what were once considered roadside weeds but that they come in so many colors—purple, white, yellow, orange, and even speckled. Multiple speckled, in fact; the White Glitter variety has white leaves with red spots. Peppermint is a salmon color with red speckles and the Peppermint Twist is mottled with ruffled leaves.

And new for this year’s trials: Ice Punch, a reddish poinsettia with almost white crystals.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Guatemala, where they grow as large as small trees. They are used to decorate churches at Christmastime. Legend has it the practice began after a poor child with no gift to bring to the nativity placed one of the wild plants on a church altar and the poinsettia suddenly sprouted brilliant red leaves.

Joel Poinsett, a botanist and the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, brought poinsettias to this country in 1825. Since that time, growers have been trying to improve on their beauty.

Recent evolutions have sprung from the way people garden today, says David Goudreault, assistant manager of the research greenhouses.

“There’s been a whole change in gardening and horticulture from growing plants, getting out there in the soil and nurturing their growth to growing plants simply as decorations,” Goudreault said. “People have become decorators instead of gardeners and they want new colors and varieties to match their décor.”

That’s why breeders turn to growing trials. And events like UNH’s open house give growers the opportunity to get feedback from the public on what they like and don’t like.

The 1,400 plants in nearly 100 varieties that will be on display during next week’s open house were started in late July and early August. About 600 of those are part of the trials. A wide assortment of poinsettias will be for sale.

Colors range from shades of pink, apricot, and deep burgundy to variegations of red, white and pink, with names like Cinnamon Candy, Valentine, Picasso, Electric Fire, Shimmer Surprise, and Dolce Rosa, the first poinsettia hybrid from a cross between the common poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, and a wild species, Euphorbia cornuta.

The Poinsettia Open House takes place Wednesday, Dec. 5 through Friday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. There is also a 12-foot poinsettia tree on display in the lobby of the Whittemore Center.

“We had a wonderful response to the open house last year,” Goudreault says. “It’s very festive. It really gives a little taste of the season.”

email this page!

We welcome your story ideas, letters, photos, notable events, achievements, obituaries and/or memorium.

If you would like to submit an item, please contact the Editor at 862-1567.

Deadline for submissions is Tuesdays at 4 pm.

Print this article Print
Email this

UNH Home | UNH News | Manage Your Subscription | follow UNH News on Twitter!
Campus Journal is produced by
UNH Media Relations
8 Garrison Ave., Durham, NH 03824
University of New Hampshire