The office inspects more than two million poinsettias that grow in Riverside County
County of Riverside, CA – Two million of the red, yellow and white poinsettias that dot homes and businesses during the holiday season are grown in Riverside County. The poinsettia season marks the meticulous, regular inspections by the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner at Altman Specialty Plants nursery in Lake Mathews.
“From the hard work of a local nursery and our inspectors, the colors of Christmas are brought into local homes and offices each year,” said Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner Ruben Arroyo.
Poinsettia is extremely susceptible to diseases, including some that are carried by pests. Whitefly is the most damaging pest to poinsettias, as it carries a virus that is difficult to eradicate. Agricultural inspectors focus on the poinsettia cuttings since the plant is a host for whiteflies.
The colorful poinsettia cuttings are imported from countries as far away as South Africa and as close as Mexico during the poinsettia growing season, which runs from May through November.
As soon as each shipment arrives at the 400-acre nursery, inspectors look for exotic insects and diseases, as well as check import documents. Once the shipments are found free of pests and diseases, and all certifications are accurate, cuttings are planted in the same pots residents eventually take home from local grocery and hardware stores for holiday decorations.
For more information, please visit the Riverside County Agricultural Commissioner’s website at www.rivcoawm.org.