You have seen it every year. It represents the happiest and jolliest time of the year. It is particularly well known for its red foliage. It is widely used in Christmas displays (huge giveaway), but no, it is not a flower. Ok..fine, meet Poinsettias. 🙂
image via here
Where did Poinsettias come from?
Poinsettias, native to Mexico, received their name in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States in 1825. Poinsett, an amateur botanist, came across the poinsettia south of Mexico City, where it is called “Flor de Noche Buena”, or Christmas Eve Flower. He brought the vibrant red and green plant back to his South Carolina plantation where he continued to cultivate them and gave cuttings as gifts to friends. The plant later became a holiday staple.
Are Poinsettias a plant?
Yes, in fact, Poinsettias are a type of “succulent” – they are in the Euphorbia family. Botanically, it is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. In addition, many mistake its colorful foliage as flowers, but they are in fact leaves called bracts. They are traditionally red, but you can find white, pink, orange, pale green, or multi color. You can find over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettias available in the market now.
What about the toxicity?
Poinsettia plant has received a bad rep. Most believe that it is poisonous, which is quite a misunderstanding. Remember we said it belongs to the Euphorbia family? The genus Euphorbia itself is a highly-toxic family, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic in the same way. It oozes out white sap that is dangerous to people and animals who are allergic to latex. As always, seek medical attention immediately when digestion occurs. FYI, this applies to any type of plants.
So there you go – now you truly know and understand Poinsettias. Enjoy it!
P.S Did you know December 12th is Poinsettia Day?