December 12, 2016

poinsettiaThe poinsettia is the most popular holiday plant this time of year. They come in an array of different colors from pink, blue, purple, white, orange, even multi-colored but are traditionally red. You’ve seen these beautiful plants in every supermarket from November to December but they mysteriously disappear after New Year’s Day.

Many people toss them, knowing they will buy new ones next year. Others will attempt but fail to keep up with the 12 hours of dark that is required to alter the color on the bracts (bracts are the leaf-like structures that change colors). However, may fortunate and/or skilled gardeners will nurture their plants keeping them alive all year allowing them to grow to 10-feet tall, enjoying their colorful autumnal bloom.


Native to southern Mexico, poinsettias were originally used by the Aztecs for dye and medicinal purposes. The plant was introduced to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who brought the plant back to South Carolina in 1828. He began propagating and dispersing the plant amongst his friends. By 1836, the plant gained the common name poinsettia. In honor of Joel Poinsett, December 12th has been titled National Poinsettia Day, marking his passing and honoring his botanical achievements.


Poinsettias are not poisonous, however, those with latex allergies or sensitivities might want to avoid the sap, which contains latex (check it out, latex is a natural product). What you should be concerned about are pets and children. It is not edible, and those with cats, dogs, horses, cows and birds should proceed with caution when this plant is around their animals.


Don’t throw your poinsettia away. This seasonal plant can bloom until March, and then be saved until next November when it will bloom all over again.  Check out UF/IFAS for tips on how to care for your poinsettia through the holiday season and beyond.

Happy National Poinsettia Day!







Commissioner Putnam shares some Fresh From Florida Recipes for the 4th

Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy these recipes from Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam


With Independence Day approaching, many Floridians are planning and preparing for their annual backyard barbecues.

Before you head out to your local grocer or farmers market, take a look at these “Fresh From Florida” recipes that are sure to be a hit at your July 4th celebration.



Open Face Watermelon Sandwiches

Open Face Watermelon Sandwiches

Kick off your barbecue with this light and cool starter. There’s nothing more refreshing than Florida watermelon!

Get the Recipe!

Grilled Gator Kabobs

Grilled Gator Kabobs

Switch up your typical backyard barbecue foods with these Florida native kabobs. It’s sure to be a hit this holiday!

Get the Recipe!

Florida Sweet Corn with Southern Barbecue Butter

Florida Sweet Corn with Southern Barbecue Butter

It isn’t a barbecue without corn on the cob, and your favorite barbecue sauce is sure to spice up this side dish.

Get the Recipe!

Happy Independence Day, everybody.


Memorial Day is a time to honor those who selflessly serve the United States through the nation’s military and service professions. It is also a time to reflect on our nation’s history and the efforts of others to ensure national security for all Americans. For some, Memorial Day is even a time to fellowship with friends and family and ring in the coming summer months.

Not every citizen can or will serve in the military or other public service profession, but every American can contribute to national security by staying aware of his or her impact on the environment. Invasive plant and apiary pests and diseases threaten our food supply and green spaces every day, and agencies like USDA and FDACS work together to protect our nation from those pests and diseases.

Here are a few tips from DPI to keep in mind during this weekend:

  • Help stop the spread of the redbay ambrosia beetle and laurel wilt by purchasing local firewood and burning it all on site. Unprocessed wood like firewood can harbor harmful pests and diseases that affect our state’s forests, landscape plants and agricultural trees. It attacks avocado trees and no one wants to do without guacamole – remember to Save the Guac!
  • If you are in the Pompano Beach Medfly quarantine area, do not move fruit in or out of the area. By minimizing the movement of fruit or host plants (especially the fresh crop of mangos), you can help stop the spread of the Mediterranean fruit fly.

Stop by DPI’s website to learn more about protecting Florida’s environment and agriculture industry from harmful plant pests and diseases. We hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to all of the military and service men and women who serve to keep our country safe!

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