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Exquisite containers...with a twist!

24 Dec '14

Transformation of a Poinsettia

Posted by Lanchi Vo

I used to think of poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) as small potted plants for Holidays decoration, with no consequent to a woodturner, whatsoever. Until one day, I received a solid block of it's wood, a perfect 4" cube, obviously cut out from even a larger block.


This piece came from Australia, via a wood exchange operation with a fellow wood collector (thanks, Vern!).  Looking at this large junk of wood, I know I have to revise my mental image of this "little house plant."  I jumped on the Internet, search for images.  Sure enough, the species can grow to very impressive size.  Interesting how technology and mass commercialization can warp ours perspective about the nature of things. But this wasn't the first time I see a poinsettia in a different light.  The first transformation happened a few years back in the lobby of a local hospital.

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It was Christmas time, the lobby was decorated with a large Christmas tree full of big red velvet bows and glittering gold strings. Cheerful red poinsettias in gold foil covered pots formed a ring around the base. I sat there in a comfy sofa, looking distractedly at people coming and going.

A red moving dot suddenly caught my eyes. It was a tiny poinsettia, in a small plastic pot, fit entirely in the palm of an old man. What struck me was the way the man held on to it, lovingly and protectively, as if it was the only poinsettia in the world. He bended over, holding it close to his chest, shielding it from the converging crowd, while shuffling into the crowded elevator.

The scuffy poinsettia looked so pitiful, compared to these gorgeous ones under the Christmas tree. But I immediately realize that is is indeed, the only poinsettia that matters at this moment. It will bring warm to a person's heart, not just sitting around, looking pretty. I bowed my head, and offered a silent prayer to whomever that man was visiting.

Poinsettia with Bocote cap