Poinsettias on Display Dec. 4

An array of poinsettias

Get in the holiday spirit this weekend at the annual Poinsettia Open House at NC State University’s JC Raulston Arboretum. The free event — featuring over 100 cultivars of poinsettias — will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday Dec. 4 at the Ruby C. McSwain Center, 4415 Beryl Road in Raleigh.

The annual open house is a showcase for the North American Poinsettia Trials, which tests poinsettia cultivars to see which ones are best for consumers and producers. NC State University organizes and participates in the trials with two other universities and Homewood Nursery and Garden Center in Raleigh. At the open house, consumers have the chance to vote for their favorites.

“Dozens of new cultivars are released each year, and the producers rely on our trials to help them sort through them to select the ones they should grow,” said Dr. John Dole, an interim associate dean in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who’s also a floriculture expert. The trials are important because poinsettias are the No. 1 potted flowering plant in the United States, with a farm-gate value of $140 million annually, and North Carolina ranks second among the states in production of the traditional holiday plants.

Dole said that participants in the open house can expect “to see several hybrid cultivars (hybrids between the regular poinsettia and another euphorbia species) with stunning pink, white and bright red bracts. … Also, we have several gorgeous golden yellow poinsettias and a couple with green bracts.”

Visitors will also have a chance to enjoy poinsettia gardens, decorated poinsettias and have their photos taken with a 9′ tall poinsettia tree.

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