QUESTION : We have been searching the Internet for
the correct pronunciation of poinsettia. There are two camps
on this one. Some say poinsettia. Others say poin?set?ee?ah.
Please settle this for us.
ANSWER : I am probably not going to be of much help
on this one. As one who must interface with the public on
a continuing basis, I generally listen to their pronunciation
and then repeat it back to them. Even at this web site,
(http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary), you will find that
both pronunciations are acceptable. So you pay your nickel
and take your choice!
QUESTION : I have 'Heavenly Bamboo' in my backyard.
I am concerned about toxicity. Is this plant a problem?
ANSWER : The information that I have indicates that
the berries are possibly toxic. See this North Carolina
State University web site:
None of the other poisonous plant web sites that I have
searched even list Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo) as
being toxic. Therefore I do not think that you need be concerned.
QUESTION : Originally, did gum come from gum trees?
How did they get chewing gum from the tree? Please let me
ANSWER : Chewing gum is made from the sap to the
Sapodilla tree which is called Chicle. This web site (http://cavadias.com/gum.html)
gives a very brief history of chewing gum. It says: "CHEWING
GUM ? When Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the Mexican leader
of the Alamo attack, was in exile on Staten Island, New
York, in 1869, he brought with him a large lump of chicle,
the elastic sap of the Sapodilla tree, which Mayan Indians
had been chewing for centuries. He hoped that Thomas Adams,
an inventor, could refine the chicle for a rubber substitute.
Adams experimented with the stuff, but it remained lifeless.
By chance, he saw a little girl buying paraffin a "pretty
poor gum" at a drug store. Adams asked the druggist
if he would be willing to try a new kind of gum. He said
yes. Adams rushed home, soaked and kneaded the chicle into
small grayish balls. The druggist sold all of them the next
day. With $55, Adams went into business making Adams New
York Gum #1 and set the world to chewing and snapping!"
More information can be found at this web site (http://22.214.171.124/dest/cam/bel2.htm).
It says: "Chicle is the pinkish to reddish?brown gum
(actually the coagulated milky sap or latex) of the Sapodilla
tree, a tropical evergreen native to the Yucatán
Peninsula, Belize and other parts of Central America. The
sap is collected by chicle?workers who cut large gashes
in the Sapodilla's trunk and collect the sap as it seeps
from the wound. The sap is then boiled, cut into blocks
Chicle was originally used as a natural substitute for
rubber, but by about 1890 it was best known as the main
ingredient in chewing gum. During World War II, the search
for a rubber substitute led to synthetic products replacing
chicle both in rubber and chewing gum production. By taking
the chicle out of our gum, we cease to support a renewable
rainforest industry when we masticate: Sapodilla sapping,
which does not destroy the tree, is forest-friendly production.
QUESTION : Can you tell me if Ficus benjamina's
leaves are toxic?
ANSWER : In my search of the web, the only mention
I can find of Ficus benjamina (Weeping Fig)being toxic is
this North Carolina State University web site:
It says that the plant sap may cause dermatitis and allergic
reaction. There is no other mention of toxicity. Therefore,
I believe that there is no reason for concern.
QUESTION : I have a beautiful plumeria growing in
a 5 gallon pot but it has leaned over to an almost horizontal
position about halfway up the trunk. What I would like to
do is divide this plant into two separate plants, leaving
the original plants root structure intact and planting the
top portion in new soil. When would be the best time to
do this and is there something I should place on the cut
areas to promote healing or rooting ?
ANSWER : At this web site you will find all you ever
wanted to know about plumeria culture and propagation:
This site is specifically about propagation and will
answer your questions:
QUESTION : We would like your advice on choosing
a grass for our bare lawn. We live in Floresville, soil
here in town is sandy. We have just a few pecan trees, but
we'll be planting a few fruit and oaks. What could you recommend
in the way of a nice looking, low to moderate water, average
ANSWER : You can use seeded (in May) hybrid bermuda
such as Cherokee or Sahara or sodded Floratam St. Augustine
from Milberger Landscape Nursery (210-497-3757 or 1-800-445-2602)
or Ambassador Turf Farm (210-633-2919 or 1-800-410-2919)
in San Antonio.