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Recognizing the Significant Contributions of Paul Ecke, Jr. to the Poinsettia Industry

Representative Randy (Duke) Cunningham

Whereas the poinsettia, native to Central America, flourished in the area of southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon, where the Aztecs used it both decoratively and to make practical substances, including medicine to treat fever and dye for textiles and cosmetics;

Whereas the poinsettia was first brought to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, the United States Ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1829, who collected specimens of the flower while serving as Ambassador and sent them to his greenhouses in South Carolina;

Whereas Paul Ecke, Jr. has been known and revered for more than five decades as an outstanding business and community leader in the region of San Diego, California, and in both the domestic and international floral industries;

Whereas the Ecke Ranch, established by Paul Ecke, Sr. and subsequently owned and developed by Paul Ecke Jr. and now by his son, Paul Ecke III, has created a worldwide poinsettia market;

Whereas the genetic work of the Ecke Ranch has been licensed to growers everywhere, and poinsettia lines developed there are responsible for more than eighty percent of the world poinsettia market;

Whereas by revolutionizing the way poinsettias are bred, produced, and sold, Paul Ecke, Jr. helped to make poinsettias the best-selling potted flowering plant in the United States and in the world;

Whereas in 2001 poinsettias contributed $256,000,000 in sales at the wholesale level to the United States economy alone, and many times that amount to the economies of countries all over the world;

Whereas December 12 has been traditionally recognized as "National Poinsettia Day" for more than 150 years; and

Whereas Paul Ecke, Jr. led the horticultural industry's successful effort to include, for the first time, significant research funding for floral and nursery crops in the research budget of the United States Department of Agriculture: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives —

(1) recognizes Paul Ecke, Jr.'s legendary energy, generosity, integrity, optimism, determination, and love of people which have enabled him to develop the poinsettia industry as well as to touch and improve the lives of children and adults all over the world through his extraordinary contributions; and

(2) extends its condolences to the Ecke Family and to the floral industry on the death of Paul Ecke, Jr., who was a philanthropist, and advocate for education, and a warm, loving, and brilliant human being.

[The above resolution, House Resolution 471, was agreed to by voice vote on 22 July 2002. Taken from the Congressional Record, page H5033.]