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THE POINSETTIA STORY

Voice of America

I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

In many colder northern countries, poinsettias are a sure sign that Christmas is near. Nearly all sales of this flowering plant come at wintertime. Yet the poinsettia is native to Central America and needs warm weather to grow.
colder northern countries: los países boreales (del norte) más fríos; a sure sign: una evidencia inconfundible; nearly all sales: casi todas las ventas; native to: originaria de; warm weather to grow: clima cálido para desarrollarse;

Red poinsettias are the best known. But there are about one hundred different kinds, and they come in several colors.
the best known: las más conocidas;

Here is how the poinsettia became one of America’s most popular flowers:
became one of: se convirtió en una de;

In 1825, a man named Joel Roberts Poinsett was appointed the United States minister to Mexico. Mister Poinsett was a diplomat, but he was also interested in plants. He brought back examples of a colorful plant to the United States.
named: llamado; was appointed: fue nombrado; diplomat: diplomático, embajador; brought back examples: trajo muestras;

The botanical name for this plant is Euphorbia pulcherrima. In Latin, that means “most beautiful euphorbia.” There are hundreds of members of the euphorbia family. Rubber trees, trees that produce castor and tung oil, and the cassava – an important root crop are all members of this family.
most beautiful euphorbia: la euforbia (género botánico) más hermosa; rubber trees: árboles que producen latex; castor and tung oil: aceite de ricino y de palo (tung); cassava: yuca, mandioca; root crop: tubérculo comestible;

Wild poinsettias can grow to four meters in size. They contain latex, like rubber trees.
can grow to four meters in size: pueden alcanzar hasta cuatro metros en volumen;

The flowers of the poinsettia are very small. Around the flowers are colorful leaves called bracts. These make the plant popular.
bracts: brácteas (hojas que parecen flores por su colorido);

In the 1920s, Albert Ecke and his son Paul became interested in the poinsettia’s ability to flower in winter. Paul Ecke thought it would be good at Christmastime. The two started a farm near Encinitas, California.
became interested in: se interesaron en; ability to flower: capacidad para florecer; started a farm near: fundaron una granja cerca de;

At first Paul Ecke, and later his son, Paul Ecke Junior, grew large plants in fields. Then they sent them to growers by train. Growers could divide the large plants into cuttings, to raise smaller ones in greenhouses until the holidays.
grew large plants in fields: cultivó grandes plantas en el campo; to growers by train: a los agricultores por tren; into cuttings: en esquejes; to raise: para cultivar; greenhouses: invernaderos;

In the 1960s came poinsettias that grew best in containers. The Eckes started to sell cuttings from these new plants.
came: aparecieron; that grew best in containers: que se desarrollaban mejor en macetas;

Today, five companies supply poinsettia cuttings for the world’s large growers. Three are European.

Poinsettias are the most popular potted flowering plant in America, with sales last year of about two hundred fifty million dollars.
potted flowering plant: planta de flor en maceta; two hundred fifty million dollars: 200 millones de dólares.

This VOA Special English Agriculture Report was written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.

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