Friday, July 31, 2009

Poinsettia Story

At our house we always have at least one gorgeous Poinsettia as part of the holiday decorations. Do you feel the same about these pretty plants?

Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the Poinsettia has a place in homes in many countries at Christmas time. Dr. Poinsett was the U.S. Minister to Mexico in the 1820s, a position we now call Ambassador. He was an amateur botanist and was thrilled to find this beautiful plant growing wild in Mexico.

In 1829 when Dr. Poinsett returned home to the United States, he brought Poinsettias with him and cultivated them in his greenhouses at his home in South Carolina, giving them to friends and spreading the word about their beauty.

In Mexico Poinsettias have the poetic name of “flor de noche buena” or “flower of the holy night.” This plant became a Christmas flower through a legend with varying details, but a central theme. A poor child in Mexico longed to bring a gift for the baby Jesus, to present at the church’s nativity scene. All the child could find to give was a plain green bouquet of weeds, but as the child approached the nativity scene, the tops of the green weeds glowed in crimson red, making a strikingly glorious gift.

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