Tree of darkness

DAY 207 (29 OCTOBER) – Poinsettia tree (Euphorbia pulcherrima) (Vejer, Spain)

I was amazed to see this tree in a street in the heart of old Vejer. Surely it couldn’t be a poinsettia, could it? I hadn’t realised until now that they aren’t just dinky little shrubs we buy at Christmas. They can grow up to about 13ft.

Native to Mexico, their name comes from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to his country in 1825.

The change in leaf colour occurs through photoperiodism. This means it requires 12 hours of darkness for at least five consecutive days. The more abundant the light is during daylight hours, the brighter the colour of the leaves.

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