Catherine StewartCatherine’s Christmas Quiz

The world has many plant-based Christmas traditions, from mistletoe and holly to poinsettia and yule logs. And there’s that weird myrrh stuff as well. But how well do you know your Christmas garden? Click to flip each image to see the answer.

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What is frankincense?
The resin of the Boswellia tree of northeast Africa
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Botanically, what is NSW Christmas bush?
Ceratopetalum gummiferum
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Where Christmas is in summer, how are poinsettias coloured up?
Blackout curtains are used to mimic a shortening daylength
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What symbolism is attached to holly?
Holly was popular in pagan times & became 'christianised' for its thorns and blood-red berries
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What's the danger of hanging mistletoe?
Apart from accidental marriage from unplanned kissing, that a child might eat one of the mildly poisonous berries
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Name 3 conifers used as USA Christmas trees?
Scotch, Virginia or white pine & noble, Douglas or Fraser fir
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What is myrrh and for what is it used?
Resin of Commiphora myrrha, used for its reputed medical properties of glucose & pain reduction & in incense
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What is a yule log?
A large ash or oak log that will burn from Christmas to Epiphany
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When & where was the first Christmas tree?
In Germany in the mid 1500s
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Which Christmas tree is also a parasite?
Western Australian Christmas tree, Nuytsia floribunda
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In Mexican legend, how did the poinsettia get its red bracts?
A very poor girl could offer nothing more than some drab weeds to the church nativity. A miracle turned them blood red.
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Where has Christmas been banned in the past?
In Britain & the American colonies by Oliver Cromwell in the middle 1600s
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What's the world record tallest Christmas tree?
A 67.36m (221ft) Douglas fir in Seattle in 1950
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What Christmas plant's name means 'little dung twig'?
Mistletoe, from the Anglo-Saxon word misteltan
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How do you keep a real Christmas tree looking fresh?
Put it in a water reservoir, just like flowers in a vase
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What botanically is a NZ Christmas tree?
The pōhutukawa, Metrosideros excelsa

0-4         Bah! Humbug!

5-8         I might light a Christmas candle but I never inhale

9-12       I look my best in red and green

13-16     Pass the gluhwein and light that pudding!



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Catherine Stewart

About Catherine Stewart

Award-winning garden journalist, blogger and photographer; writer for garden magazines and co-author of 'Waterwise Gardening'; landscape designer turned landscape design judge and critic; compulsive networker and lover of generally putting fingers in lots of pies. Particularly mud pies. Creator, curator and editor of GardenDrum. Sydney, NSW.

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