Poinsettias for Christmas!
Before splurging all the X-Mas fun involving poinsettia plants, let's do a little background check and learn a little about its origin and history. Poinsettias are part of the Euphorbiaceae or Spurge family. Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. So, who discovered the wonderful poinsettia plant? Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced the poinsettia plant to the United States from Mexico. Poinsett was a botanist, physician, and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. Thanks to him, poinsettias are enjoyed worldwide, especially when the Christmas season strikes.
In Mexico, the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that will grow 10-15 feet tall. Nowadays, there are more than a hundred varieties of poinsettias available today. Poinsettias come in colours like the traditional red, white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled, but the most popular one is of course the red colour, given it ensembles one of the major X-Mas traditional colours.
Why Are Poinsettias Considered THE 'Christmas Plant'?
For all the curious minds out there wanting to know why exactly the poinsettia is considered the 'Christmas plant', the plant is otherwise called Flor de la Noche Buena (Flower of the Holy Night) due to its resemblance to the Star of Bethlehem.
The reason poinsettias became so popular is due to Paul Ecke and his inventiveness. Ecke, who lived in California, discovered a technique that caused seedlings to branch, resulting in a fuller plant. He began growing the plant in the tens of thousands for the Christmas season when other flowers were scarce.
To promote poinsettias as a Christmas plant, he sent the crimson-leaved plants to TV studios across the USA, including “The Tonight Show” and Bob Hope’s holiday specials. And voila! There's the formula as to why poinsettia is considered the official 'Christmas plant'.
Symbolism of Poinsettia
There is religious symbolism in the poinsettia plant given the fact the star shape represents the Star of Bethlehem, the red leaves represent the blood of Christ, and the white leaves represent the purity of Christ. Besides these important symbolisms, poinsettias, also known as the December birth flower also symbolise good cheer, and success and are said to bring wishes of mirth and celebration.