The Poinsettia

poinsettia (2)

The Poinsettia

The flower that will adorn so many homes over the holidays.

From big to small and in quite a few colours.

Do you have one?

Like all the traditions, there is history and facts.

But also myths… don’t let your dog eat the plant

don’t eat the plant




not poison

not toxic

not tasty though,

and may cause an upset tummy

but not toxic.

but, eat a sugar cookie instead..

poinsettia plants

 Lets get the facts out of the way, then more pictures. 🙂

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. Mr. Poinsett also founded the scientific institution in the USA called the Smithsonian Institute. 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 Poinsettia’s 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.

The Poinsettia is also the national emblem of Madagascar.

They make such nice decorations



Some interesting colours too

PoinsettiaColored03 (Small)

From what I gathered though

some of these may not be natural.

oh wait…. purple.. hmmmm

You can make some very pretty decorations with them.

il_fullxfull.287560265 (Small)

Centerpieces for tables too

page 36_image29_fc2009_629_red candle tallcyclinder red grass flowers red poinsettia ring

Now more information for you

I am sure you are curious

How many colours are there?

Other than Red and White?


Jingle Bells






Pink Peppermint

Pink Peppermint

Plum Pudding

Plum Pudding

Winter Rose

Winter Rose

Silver Bells

Silver Bells

I am sure there are more too.

Different versions of the above

I saw Strawberries and Cream

For Mumsy

For Mumsy


And one for November too



About sensuousamberville

I am a Practitioner, teacher and student. I think we should always be students, we should keep our minds open, to continue to learn. :-) Now a mother of two little ones.

6 responses »

  1. Firstly **coughs a little** you are “GORGEOUS!!” Thinking of me to put the puppy dog pic there… naaaw squish…. Secondly what a delightful little post- mum always has a Poinsettia (in fact pretty much the whole year through) in her house. I did not know the background at all – so thank you. I did not know that they came in so many colours – so thank you again. Well put together & pretty to wake up to this morning 🙂 xx

  2. I have my yearly one.. which is the ‘Jingle Bells’. I never seen the blue or purple one.. amd even though my favorite color is blue, I don’t think I would want one.. It looks fake for some reason.

    • nods, i like the deep red best, but a mixed pot is pretty too, and they put sparkles on them a lot, the blue and purple are painted I think I read.

      wait, isn’t that big poinsettia tree outside your home? Am sure I read that things were bigger there. *grins*

      • ah, I had read a book a while back where you can mix plants and make hybirds and change the colors of them, etc. but not sure how it works.. Painted? or food coloring in the water they drink?? *LOL*

        You know, I would love a big poinsettia tree outside my house, if I knew how to do it, I would.. just so I could be unique.. But I think I would do it with the ivory colored ones instead of the red..

      • It must be a food colouring, the leaves don’t look painted, they called it painted on the site I read. I like Christmas colours though. Purple would look nice in the summer.

        If you do an image search you can see a lot of poinsettia trees. Some look amazing. You could probably keep it outside year round.

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