South Carolina: The First American Home of the Poinsettia

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poinsettiaThe poinsettia is a beautiful red flower that is given most around the holidays, especially Christmas. The poinsettia has a long history, but one of the most interesting points of history is how the poinsettia made its way to America finding its first home in Greenville, South Carolina.

The poinsettia originated in Southern Mexico and the people of Mexico had many uses for it, but the poinsettia wasn’t used as an ornamental flower until an American admired the beauty of the bright red leaves on a trip to the region.

President Madison appointed Joel Roberts Poinsett the first American Ambassador to Mexico in 1825 and during a trip to the Taxco area in 1828 he found magnificently red flowers that he had sent back to his Greenville home immediately.
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Fir Trees: A Christmas Favorite

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Christmas TreeBringing home and decorating the Christmas tree is one of the most exciting events of the year for families around America.  It marks the beginning of the holiday season and a time of cheer for many people.  Families decorate the tree with lights and ornaments so they can watch it glitter and shine throughout December.  A tree commonly used as a Christmas tree is the fir tree.  It’s beautiful, full needles and limbs are easy to decorate and add the look and feel of the season to any home.  Below is a brief look at how the fir tree came to be a part of Christmas, and a  description of the different types of fir trees in America.

Fir Trees in Christmas History

Fir trees have been used as Christmas trees for centuries.  The earliest record of this was in the 7th century, when a monk allegedly used a fir tree to describe God’s Holy Trinity to the people he was teaching.  The converted people, who once reverenced the oak tree as “God’s Tree,” began using the fir tree instead.  During the 12th century, people were hanging fir trees upside down from their ceilings as a symbol of Christianity.
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Fascinating Facts about Hawaii’s Mauna Loa

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VolcanoMauna Loa is the Earth’s largest volcano rising more than thirteen thousand feet above the Pacific Ocean.  A fascinating natural wonder, Hawaii’s volcano covers about half the island of Hawaii and is visited by thousands of people each year.  The following article offers facts and trivia about this amazing volcano.

The volcano’s name, Mauna Loa, actually means “long mountain.”  This is an apt name for a volcano that is sixty miles long and thirty miles in width.

The island of Hawaii has five volcanoes including Mauna Loa.
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Getting Deep: Facts and Trivia about Oceans

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OceanConsidered by many as the earth’s last wilderness, the oceans are filled with both marvels and mysteries.  The following offerings relate to everything from tidal pools to seafloors-and all the marine wonders in between.

Earth’s oceans contain approximately 324 million cubic miles of seawater.  It is also believed that the earth’s oceans formed over four billion years ago.

Nautiluses, like many sea creatures, rely on a combination of carbon and oxygen in the seawater to form their shells.
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Hurricane Facts and Figures

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HurricaneIf you’ve ever wanted to know more about hurricanes, here are some quick facts to get you started.

–  The World Meteorological Organization is responsible for naming hurricanes. They have a master list of 21 names that are recycled as each set is used up. When a major hurricane such as Katrina or Wilma occurs, that name is retired and replaced. The letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z are not used due to the limited possibilities for names. The hurricane names alternate between male and female.

–  There are five categories to classify hurricanes, based on wind speed and their potential to cause damage. The categories are as follows:
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Never Another Katrina: How Hurricanes are Named

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hurricaneThe official naming of hurricanes started in 1953, when the US National Hurricane Centre created lists of women’s names with which to tag the fierce storms that raged over the Atlantic.

The use of women’s names reflected the gender bias of the time – hurricanes were destructive and unpredictable and calling them after women seemed amusing. No doubt some ex-wives and girlfriends got onto the lists.

But by 1979, attitudes had changed, and men’s names were introduced to the lists, alternating with the existing names. There are now six lists used in rotation, with 21 names each. Each list of 21 names is used once in six years.
But why name hurricanes in the first place? Well, the alternative is to give cumbersome and confusing latitude and longitude identification. A name is easier to remember, particularly when you are warning the public of an approaching hurricane.
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Feeling Chilly? Fascinating Facts About Ice

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IceDid you know there are different types of ice? Or that the area of ice in the Arctic is at a worryingly low level? It’s true – read on to discover this, plus more fascinating facts about ice!

In simple terms, ice is the solid form of water. It’s formed when water reaches below 0 degrees C in temperature (or 273.15K / 32 degrees F). In pressurized atmospheres it can, however, also be formed at higher temperatures.

Strangely, ice has a different density to water, despite being formed from the same liquid. When solid, it’s 8 per cent less dense than liquid water.
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Unbelievable Christmas Tree Facts!

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Christmas TreeThe Christmas tree is not something most of us think about until Christmas but there are farmers who work year round to make sure we get the best Christmas tree! There are many unbelievable facts about the Christmas tree and they are all listed right here.

1. One entire acre of Christmas trees manufactures the oxygen requirements for an average of just 18 people.

2. The idea of electric Christmas lights was born in 1882 by Edward Johnson, famous for assisting brilliant Thomas Edison.

3. Nearly 80 million Christmas tree are planted every year.
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Facts About Orchids

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OrchidsOrchids are delicate and unique and many only grow in certain parts of the world. They’re a lovely flower to encourage in your garden, or to have a few stems in a vase decorating your home. But how much do you know about orchids?

The orchid flowers are one of the largest families of plants in the world. In fact, there are more than 25,000 species in the world that occur naturally, plus many more which have been developed by orchid growers.

The name orchid comes from the Greek word orchis, which means testicle. They’re named this because of the shape of their bulbous roots.
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How Flowers Got Their Names

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BouquetEver wonder why a Lilac is called a Lilac or a Hyacinth a Hyacinth?  See if you know how these ten flowers got their names.

1. The flower, “Begonia,” is named for Michel Begon, an official in French King, Louis XIV’s court and later governor of Canada.

2. The flower, “Camellia,” is presumed to be named after the “Lady of the Camellias,” a 19th century French courtesan and the heroine of Dumas’ novel.
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Interesting Facts About Trees

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TreesWe pass by stately trees everyday in lawns and parks, watching in the spring as the first leaves appear and gazing in awe at the colorful foliage that fall brings. Many of us have planted them, and some of us even grow them in our own houses, but how much do you know about trees? Here are some interesting facts you may not have known about one of nature’s most noble creations.

– Sugar Maples can produce three gallons of sap every day. To make one gallon of delicious maple syrup, however, you will have to collect more than forty gallons of sap!

– The world’s tallest tree resides in California. It is a coast redwood and reaches more than 360 feet into the sky.
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