You are here

Poinsettias

Poinsettia pot

Poinsettias are sub-tropical plants native to Mexico and Central America. Although the brightest parts of the plants look like flowers, the most striking colors come from the upper leaves of the plant, called bracts. Poinsettia flowers are actually quite small, and grow in the center of each leaf bunch.

Ancient Aztecs called poinsettias “cuetlaxochitl.” They used the sap of the plant to make a medicine to treat fevers, and the bracts to make a purple dye. Due to its bright coloring, the Aztecs viewed the poinsettia as a symbol of purity.

Today poinsettias commonly serve as a symbol of Christmas. They are the most popular holiday plant, which is convenient because they naturally bloom during the festive season.

Mexican poinsettias are typically bright red, but poinsettias also bloom in other colors such as cream, lemon, peach, pink, and white and gold splashed leaves.

Image 1
Image 2
Did You Know?: 
  • Poinsettia was named after the former US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States.
  • Poinsettia’s botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, means “the most beautiful Euphorbia.”
  • The poinsettia is the national emblem of Madagascar!
  • Poinsettias are natural carbon monoxide detectors. If your plant starts losing its leaves as soon as you bring it home, and no other reason for this reaction is apparent, consider checking the level of carbon monoxide in your home. If your detector goes off, leave the house immediately