I recently saw a lovely blog post from an Etsy seller as she mused about Poinsettias. Many of us associate the beautiful Poinsettias we see at this time of year with the Christmas holiday. It got me wondering why? How did this plant from the Mexican countryside become a botanical staple in our season of giving? So, off to do some research and here is what I found.
Many mistake the poinsettia’s leaves as flower petals, but the flowers are actually the smaller, yellow buds in a poinsettia’s center. These bracts, the upper portion of the leaves, are famously red, although they actually bloom in a variety of hues, such as pink, white and yellow. Poinsettias, also known as the “lobster flower” or “Mexican flame leaf,” bloom in December, making them an ideal holiday flower.
The plant is named for the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced America to the poinsettia in 1828, after discovering it in the wilderness in southern Mexico. Dr. Poinsett, who dabbled in botany when he wasn’t politicking between nations, sent cuttings of the plant back to his South Carolina home. While it wasn’t initially embraced, it caught on over the years, and by the 20th century it was a holiday mainstay.
In fact, National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on Dec. 12, honoring both the plant and the man who brought it to America
What does a poinsettia have to do with Christmas? One interpretation of the plant is as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, the heavenly body that led the three magi, or wise men, to the place where Christ was born. A Mexican legend tells of a girl who could only offer weeds as a gift to Jesus on Christmas Eve. When she brought the weeds into a church, they blossomed into the beautiful red plants we know as poinsettias, known as Flores de Noche Buena in Mexico (Spanish for “flowers of the holy night”).
The Poinsettia is now one of the most important floricultural crops in the US and December 12th is now celebrated as National Poinsettia Day, marking the date of Poinsett’s death, celebrating his life and his discovery, and noting his unfathomable enjoyment of the lush plants. And, just as Poinsett would have it; the Poinsettia, whether white, red or pink, remains one of the most frequently sold and delivered Christmas decorations during the holiday season.
I hope you have enjoyed these lovely poinsettia offering from the shop of the Forget-me-Nots-Daily-Discoveries Team on Etsy.
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Thanks to the website HowSTuffWorks for this informative information