10 Fun Facts About Poinsettias

poinsettias

This is the time of year when greenhouses, malls and Christmas displays boast the colors of red, white and pink of the beautiful poinsettia flower. Here are a few fun and interesting facts about poinsettias to dazzle your friends and associates this holiday season should you be digging for light conversational topics  —

  1. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and were introduced to the USA, and consequently North America, by a gentleman named Joel Roberts Poinsett.  Joel was a man who packed a lot of living and learning in his life, botany being one of his passions. Upon an envoy to Mexico right around Christmas time, he noticed and fell in love with the brilliantly colored beautiful flower and introduced it to the US.
  2. Poinsettias are of the Euphorbia family, related to Euphorbia polychroma, the wonderful spring blooming (and our zone hardy!) Cushion Spurge with its luminous yellow color.
  3. The scientific Latin name for poinsettias is Euphorbia pulcherrima, meaning the most beautiful Euphorbia.
  4. Poinsettias were also called ‘Painted Leaf’, and ‘Mexican Fire Plant’.
  5. The common name of this Christmas flower was dubbed ‘Poinsettia’ in Joel Poinsett’s honor.
  6. All Euphorbias have a milky white sap that is now called latex. This sap can be irritating to skin but it is not toxic.  Back in the day in Mexico, this sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers.
  7. In Mexico, poinsettias were also used to make purple dye for clothing and cosmetics.
  8. The original colors of poinsettias were just red or white.
  9. The colored leaves of the poinsettias are called bracts and are not the flowers. The real poinsettia flowers are the yellow colored blossoms in the center of the bracts.  The colored bracts attract pollinators.
  10. There is a wonderful Mexican story centered around a little girl named Pepita that who has no gift to bring to a nativity in her church that speaks of this beautiful flower – check it out, it’s a lovely short story.

Call us for more information on our beautiful poinsettias!