Posted on December 28 2016
Commonly known as the traditional Christmas plant, the Poinsettia has deep cultural and historical roots dating back to the sixteenth century. Used for a variety of purposes, ranging from practical to festive, the Poinsettia remains one of the most popular plants sold during the holiday season. Poinsettias provide a beautiful and bright hue for a one-of-a-kind accent piece in your home and garden. This time of year, you can’t turn a corner without seeing the large, bursting leaves of the Poinsettia. Why are these plants such a popular tradition for the season? Let’s explore how this tropical tree became America’s favorite holiday plant.
- The Poinsettia came from Joel Roberts Poinsett, a botanist and first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the United States in 1828.
- Poinsettias have their own special holiday. December 12th is considered National Poinsettia Day, marking the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett.
- It is presumed that the Poinsettia gained religious significance during the seventeenth century. The shape of the Poinsettia is thought to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.
- The main attraction of the Poinsettia is its vivid red leaves, or bracts, which are often mistaken for flower petals. Its yellow flowers are actually grouped in the center of each leaf bunch.
- Botanically known as Euphorbia pulcherrima, Poinsettias are a part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family.
- A species indigenous to Mexico, the Aztecs used the sap of Poinsettias to reduce fevers.
- Poinsettias are grown and thrive well in humid conditions.
- There are more than 100 different varieties of Poinsettia, which come in a wide range of traditional red, peach, yellow, white, and even marble or speckled.
- Plants that grow wild in a subtropical climate can reach heights of 10-15 feet.
- Qualcomm Stadium, home to the San Diego Chargers (in our neck of the woods), holds the Poinsettia Bowl. The NCAA game was created in 1952 where military services would hold their own champion against one another.