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Saturday, 3 December 2016

Poinsettia - have you got yours yet ?

One thing that is always part of Christmas in our house is the Poinsettia, at least one ... if not more, are purchased, and they do look so warm, cheerful and welcoming dotted around on tables, shelves etc. Of course there are many varieties available but for me my favourite is the wonderful RED ones, they are brilliant. We also have some cheery Father Christmas 'wooden' ornaments / decorations and they sit well together on the hall table ! If you'd like to find out more about these wonderful plants and their link to Christmas please read on.

"Poinsettia plants are native to Central America, especially an area of southern Mexico known as 'Taxco del Alarcon' where they flower during the winter. The ancient Aztecs called them 'cuetlaxochitl'. The Aztecs had many uses for them including using the flowers (actually special types of leaves known as bracts rather than being flowers) to make a purple dye for clothes and cosmetics and the milky white sap was made into a medicine to treat fevers. (Today we call the sap latex!)

The poinsettia was made widely known because of a man called Joel Roberts Poinsett (that's why we call them Poinsettia!). He was the first Ambassador from the USA to Mexico in 1825. Poinsett had some greenhouses on his plantations in South Carolina, and while visiting the Taco area in 1828, he became very interested in the plants. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began growing the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.

One of the friends he sent plants to was John Barroom of Philadelphia, who gave the plant to his friend, Robert Buist, a plants-man from Pennsylvania. Robert Buist was probably the first person to have sold the poinsettias under their botanical, or latin name, name 'Euphorbia pulcherrima' (it means, 'the most beautiful Euphorbia'). It is thought that they became known as Poinsettia in the mid 1830's when people found out who had first brought them to America from Mexico.

There is an old Mexican legend about how Poinsettias and Christmas come together, it goes like this:

There was once a poor Mexican girl called Pepita who had no present to give the the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked to the chapel, sadly, her cousin Pedro tried to cheer her up.
'Pepita', he said "I'm sure that even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus Happy."

Pepita didn't know what she could give, so she picked a small handful of weeds from the roadside and made them into a a small bouquet. She felt embarrassed because she could only give this small present to Jesus. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered what Pedro had said. She began to feel better, knelt down and put the bouquet at the bottom of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into bright red flowers, and everyone who saw them were sure they had seen a miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the 'Flores de Noche Buena', or 'Flowers of the Holy Night'.

The shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus. The red colored leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

he Poinsettia is also the national emblem of Madagascar and grow there as large outdoor shrubs."
The above words from here
To learn about caring for Poinsettia plants, see here

And talking about things coloured red, and you know I nearly always include a recipe!
can I interest you in a tasty and warming bowl of
Roast Red Pepper & Tomato Soup - you can see the recipe here

Thanks for reading, wishing you all a Happy Weekend
All the best Jan


Lowcarb team member said...

Hello Tom
your comment "Poinsettia are lovely, but I never get one!"

was put on the Saturated Fat post!!!

So I've copied it here ...

All the best Jan

Anonymous said...

Interesting to read about the legend.
I will get my Pointsettia's soon.


Jo said...

Pointsettias just scream Christmas, don't they? I must admit that I'm not all that fond of them but I do sometimes succumb just because they're so cheery.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the poinsettias are pretty. They seem to grow outdoors here in Florida. I love tomato soup and appreciate the recipe. Happy weekend to you!

Debbie said...

i don't usually buy them as i usually receive a few as gifts. they seem to grow well here, indoors and last sometimes well into summer. we have a deep red variety here, with white speckles on the pedals, they are a favorite!!!

Adam said...

I only got them once. I think I might eventually get an artificial one. Those things are way too fragile

Jan/JFM said...

Poinsettia's are beautiful and I enjoyed your post very much.
Not to put a damper on this beautiful flower, but I feel it is worth adding this...

•Many plants in the Euphorbiaceae family ooze a milky sap. Some people with latex allergies have had a skin reaction (most likely to the sap) after touching the leaves. For pets, the poinsettia sap may cause mild irritation or nausea. Probably best to keep pets away from the plant, especially puppies and kittens.
•Poinsettias are not poisonous. A study at Ohio State University showed that a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 leaves to have any harmful effect. Plus poinsettia leaves have an awful taste. You might want to keep your pets from snacking on poinsettia leaves. Eating the leaves can cause vomiting and diarrhea

I have pets and grandchildren so I prefer to use silk poinsettias...maybe some year I'll have real ones :)

Love that recipe!!!

Hugs from Jan

Mac n' Janet said...

Love Poinsettias, they're so beautiful. While they won't poison you cat, they can make them sick if they eat them. My cat loves to eat any plant we bring in the house so as a consequence I only have artificial ones, but I have bunches of them

Christine said...

I recently bought a pot of red poinsettias as a gift, I chose it over the white ones. Interesting history, thanks for sharing, and the soup looks so comforting!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I love these plants but I haven't picked one up in a few years even though I'm always tempted. Perhaps this year!

Happyone said...

I don't usually buy Poinsettias but I think I just might get one this year. : )
The beans were a hit last night. Thanks again for the recipe.

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I love Poinsettias , Jan. Thank you for the history lesson behind this lovely plant. I remember seeing them growing in the wild of Mexico.
The tomato soup sure would be good on a cold evening.
Have a great week! ♥

The Happy Whisk said...

I love, love, love putting peppers and tomatoes together. No flowers for us.

Kezzie said...

I did know about poinsettias because of reading a blog post last year but I didn't know that lovely sorry. I always enjoy stories like that...

Lowcarb team member said...

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and comments, it's always lovely to receive, read and share them.

Thanks also for making me, and other readers, aware of the allergic reaction that these plants may cause ...

To all of you that have them growing where you live, they must look great - I just love the cheery red colour, although they do like nice in other colours too!

Glad so many of you appreciated the soup recipe.

And finally to Karen (Happy One) I'm glad the green beans went down well - if other readers are wondering what green beans - it's this post here:

All the best Jan

Magic Love Crow said...

Thank you so much for the lovely story about poinsettias! I have never heard it before! Truly beautiful! Big Hugs!

Linda said...

Ha, I still have last year's. It's green though. Maybe I should just festoon it with red ribbons!