Poinsettias has been admired by many people since its discovery. Who wouldn’t want it? Its vibrant red color and wide leaves that serve as its petal beguiles anyone who would dare to stare at its beauty.
Poinsettias and Their Folklore
It is believed that a red poinsettia was the symbol of how early gods sacrificed their lives to make the universe. Hence its color, red was the blood of gods that served as debt for humans, to be repaid by their own blood. On the other hand, poinsettia has been used by the Aztecs to relieve fever, with its sap, and its leaves for dye.
Going back to early days, legends were told about how the alluring poinsettia was created. A famous tale was about the poor little girl who cried when she wasn’t able to give a gift to baby Jesus. Then came an angel and asked her to get a bunch of weeds. The girl’s tears rolled on the weeds and turned it to vibrant red of Poinsettia. Meanwhile, there are more tales in Mexico of how this poinsettia was created and some of which were inspired by Christianity.
The History of the Modern Poinsettia
How the modern poinsettia was discovered has never been a secret. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the New Republic of Mexico’s first Ambassador, found the bold plant in Taxco and picked a few of them, then set off for Charleston South Carolina. This man was a botany enthusiast, and when he got back to the states, he introduced the plant to everyone. Hence, the name was taken from the man in remembrance of his discovery.
This plant is known as poinsettia pulcherrima on the present day. The famous celebration of Poinsettia Day is every 12th of December. Coincidentally, the same date was when Joel Roberts Poinsett died. In America, the day is remembered for the beauty and discovery of Poinsettia as it is a sign that Christmas season is upon us.
The Botany of it All
Scientifically, poinsettias belong to the family of the shrub. In Mexico, the poinsettia was early believed to be a weed. Everyone would think that its physical makeup is a flower, but the vibrant Poinsettia is leaves. These are bracts composing the alluring bunch and are matured at red color after some time of cultivation.
Poinsettias have more than 100 varieties and the most popular form of which are the red ones. This euphorbia also comes with peach, yellow, salmon, pink, white and purple. Today, it is widely cultivated by the Ecke family, with their farm in California, and supplying the majority of flower shops in America. Their business has also ventured on sending Poinsettia to foreign countries in Europe.
Is the Poinsettia Poisonous?
On the other hand, Poinsettia’s toxicity was studied in Ohio State University. It was found that the plant cannot cause death, but consumption of which will cause diarrhea and vomiting. Its leaves do not taste good (bitter), and its sap can cause allergic reactions such as skin irritation. So be sure to keep your kids from hanging around with its sap and bracts.
Hence, the poinsettia is a famous symbol of Christmas and gets a lot of attention from flower shops before the holiday. Other people are getting enrapt with cultivation of the poinsettia and doing a homegrown variety for its celebration and decoration of the Christmas season.
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