Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are popular potted
plants, particularly during the Christmas season. Brightly colored and mostly
red, a Poinsettia provides effective color in home decor during and after the
holiday season. The newer Poinsettia cultivars are long-lasting in contrast to
the cultivars that were available a few years ago. Christmas charm is what
these amazing Poinsettias hold.
Facts About Poinsettias:
- Poinsettias are the most popular of the holiday plants.
- Poinsettias are native to southern Mexico and Central
- Poinsettias also bloom in cream, lemon, peach, pink
colors and with white and gold-splashed leaves.
- Poinsettia's botanical name, Euphorbia
pulcherrima, means "the most beautiful Euphorbia".
- Poinsettia was named after the former US ambassador
to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who introduced the
Poinsettia to the United States.
- Recent research has proved that Poinsettias are
- Poinsettias, at times, reach a height of sixteen
- Poinsettias are also known by other names such as
'Christmas flower', 'lobster flower', and 'Mexican flame leaf'.
- As a result of its
importance in the celebration of Christmas and its beautification of
America, December 12th is celebrated as National Poinsettia Day, to honor
the passing away of Joel R. Poinsett.
A common misconception about poinsettias is that they are a poisonous plant.
While these plants should not be eaten, extensive studies have proven they are
not poisonous to humans or animals. But like most members of the Euphorbia
clan, they do have a milky sap inside the stem, which may cause skin irritation
for some people.
Leaves, Not Flowers
Another misconception about poinsettias is that they have red flowers. When
actually, the "flowers" are simply colored leaves called bracts. The
insignificant yellow buds in the center of the colored bracts are the actual
Sensitive to Carbon Monoxide
It's a little known fact that poinsettias are very susceptible to carbon
monoxide. If your poinsettia is wilting or losing leaves immediately upon
arrival in your home, you may want to have your carbon monoxide levels tested.
Poinsettias & Christmas:
The ancient Aztecs (the Mexican Indians) prized
the Poinsettia as a symbol of purity. Centuries later, Mexico's early
Christians adopted the Poinsettia as their prized Christmas Eve flower. The
Mexican Poinsettia, known as the Christmas flower in North America, is
used in most Christmas decorations, owing to its bright red color and its
blooming season coinciding with the Christmas holiday season.
The Mexican poinsettias are
commonly bright red. For some, these star-shaped bracts symbolize the Star of
Bethlehem. The Christmas Poinsettia flowers have become a symbol of Christmas
and are used as festive decor.
A Mexican legend explains how
Poinsettias came to be associated with Christmas. Apparently, a child who could
not afford a gift to offer to Christ on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from
the side of a road. The child was told that a humble gift, if given in love,
would be acceptable in God's eyes. When brought into the church, the weeds
bloomed into red and green flowers and the congregation felt that they had
witnessed a Christmas miracle.