TOYAMA -- One poinsettia, the festive plant known for its red leaves and usually seen kept in pots, has revealed its true self after reaching a height of about 2 meters at a botanical garden in this city on the Sea of Japan.
The plant is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family indigenous to Mexico, and the popular Christmas decoration's leaves turn red in winter. While we usually see poinsettia at about a height of 30 centimeters in containers, it is in fact a type of tree that grows to 3 to 4 meters in height. The planter-grown type is apparently a product of artificial modification using a growth retardant that keeps the stem small.
The Botanic Gardens of Toyama planted its poinsettia in its tropical rainforest greenhouse. When it was transplanted this past spring after the stem was cut down to about 1 meter in height, it grew an additional 1 meter and a bit. The color of the leaves on the top has turned the familiar red, making a rare, towering poinsettia plant.
Toshiaki Shiuchi, director of the cultivation and exhibition department at the garden, commented, "It's hard to successfully grow (poinsettias) at home. We want people to come visit us to see the plant's true nature."
(Japanese original by Ikuko Aoyama, Toyama Bureau)