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Monday 11 December 2023

The Poinsettia : Part of Christmas with its own special day!

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 🎅

Did you know that people across the United States celebrate these most recognizable plants of the holidays on a special day, aptly named National Poinsettia Day. 
That day is tomorrow December 12th.

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 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 coloured leaves symbolize the blood of Christ. The white leaves represent his purity.

Do you have Poinsettias at Christmas / the Holiday Season?

And talking about things coloured red
can I interest you in a tasty and warming bowl of
Sweet potato, carrot, red pepper and tomato soup
it's 'Nana's Magic Recipe', and you can see more details/recipe here

You will find a variety of articles and recipe ideas within this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan


Tom said...

...we have several of them decorating the house.

Christine said...

Love their vibrant red

J.P. Alexander said...

Siempre me ha gustado esa planta. Te mando un beso.

DMS said...

I love poinsettias and always have them. I didn't know about their history! Thanks for sharing. :)

The Happy Whisk said...

I almost bought some at Aldi -- they had them for a good price. Wasn't sure if Bug would eat them or how long they'd live inside. So pretty though.

Elephant's Child said...

They are a beautiful plant and I love them, but I cannot keep them alive so I no longer buy them.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

I do love them, but fail to keep them long enough, not even a few weeks. My mother's best friend had a mahoosive one in her conservatory. It was over six foot tall!!!

Margaret D said...

Nice to know more about that plant Jan.

Linda said...

I always bought a poinsettia for Christmas. Always!
One year when I was dumpster diving, I found a box with a dozen tiny poinsettias. I brought them home and placed them of an antique cut glass cake plate. It was lovely.
Two years ago, I found a large arrangement in a 12-inch ceramic coffee cup that had poinsettias, pine cones, berries and pine in a large arrangement for $7, I think. We now use that as a small economy instead of buying a poinsettia. We did buy two amaryllis to grow from a bulb for Christmas. Where we have to place a poinsettia, there is no light at all.

eileeninmd said...

The poinsettia is a cheerful sight, a beautiful plant.
Take care, have a wonderful week!

Jeanie said...

I love poinsettias and have three small ones. This is wonderful background info! Thanks, Jan, for that, the soup recipe, your visits and all I learn here!

Giorgio said...

Great post about that typical plant which flowers during the winter. It's typical of Christmas and I didn't know it was a native plant of Mexico. We have already bought it this year :-)

Have a nice week!

Debbie said...

i love poinsettias and find they last forever here!! cream of tomato soup is one of my favorites, that is an interesting variation!!

Norma2 said...

Jan around here is called "federal star". In homes, their life is ephemeral because it is very hot during these holidays. And she's happy with cold weather.

Carla from The River said...

We have a poinsettia on our dinning room table. I love the story of the poinsettia.
Merry Christmas, Carla

happyone said...

Love poinsettias. Didn't get one this year. Not yet anyway.
I'm sure I'd love that soup!!

Ananka said...

Lovely flowers. The soups look so good too.

Thanks for your comments Jan, I am hoping to be back now! :-D

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful post about the Poinsettia ~ Like the story of the little Mexican girl ~ mythology is fun ~

Yummy looking soup too ~

Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,
A ShutterBug Explores,
aka (A Creative Harbor)

Barwitzki said...

Soups, yes, always Jan and especially now, the warm soups. Wonderful.
Thanks for the legend of the poinsettia.
I buy them too.
A kind greeting to you. Viola

My name is Erika. said...

This is a fascinating post. I didn't know how poinsettias' were named. They are wonderful holiday plants, aren't they?

Conniecrafter said...

We use to get them but these cats we have now will not leave plants alone so we can't have anything that they may get into.

Bill said...

Poinsettias are so pretty.

Teresa said...

Es una planta preciosa que me encantan. Besos.