cloth, 287 p., $49.95
Cherished for its seasonal cheer, the poinsettia, a deciduous shrub, was cultivated by the Aztecs and later became a popular decoration in Christian processions in Mexico. It was introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Robert Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. The plant presents many challenges to breeders and growers alike, so this manual of plant culture is a welcome addition to the bookshelves of professionals in the green industry and greenhouse gardeners.
As the world’s largest grower of poinsettias, the Paul Ecke Ranch is reputedly the most successful breeder of this specialty plant. Reportedly growing poinsettia stock for the flower market in 1909, the firm has long experience, as well as the greatest success in plant production and marketing of any other major organization. Its experts share their knowledge in a well-organized and well-documented text that is understandable and liberally sprinkled with clear, full-color photographs illustrating the details in descriptions. In addition to instruction on plant culture, the manual contains marketing ideas and a guide to current cultivars introduced by the firm.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden