Poinsettia Discover the Christmas custom, story, myth and legend associated with the
Poinsettia. This festive tradition and Christmas custom, with its familiar symbol and meaning, has evolved over time. But what is the history, meaning
and origin of the Poinsettia? This
article provides facts and information about the history of the
as a familiar symbol, tradition and custom of our Christmas today.
What is a
What is a Poinsettia? Definition: A
Poinsettia is defined as aMexican shrub (Euphorbia pulcherrima) with
very large and conspicuous red vermilion bracts below the yellowish
flowers. The petal-like bracts
are modified leaves located at the junction of the flower stalks and
main stem. In November and December the leaves turn vivid shades of
red in response to the longer nights.
The poinsettia's brilliant seasonal display is actually produced by
colored bracts surrounding the real flowers, which appear as an
insignificant cluster of yellow berries called "cyathia." The
poinsettia is also known by its Spanish name of 'flor de nochebuena'
meaning "flower of Christmas Eve". During the 14th - 16th century
the sap was used to control fevers and the bracts (modified leaves)
were used to make a reddish dye. The poinsettia is the only plant
representing a Christmas legend, or, story from the New World.
The Origin and
History of the Poinsettia The Poinsettia plant was introduced
to U.S. in 1828 from Mexico by Joel Roberts Poinsett. Joel
Roberts Poinsett originally came from Charleston and then worked as
the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. He was appointed to
the position by President Andrew Jackson. The Mexicans considered
the poinsettia to be the
"flower of the blessed night" and represented the star of Bethlehem.
The poinsettia was a common decoration used in Nativity processions
in Mexico. Joel Poinsett took cuttings from the poinsettia plant and
brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. In the early
1900's the poinsettia was marketed in the US
by Albert Ecke.
The Legend of the Poinsettia
The legend of the poinsettia tells of a poor Mexican
child on her way to church on Christmas Eve wept because she had no
gift to place before the altar of the Virgin and Child. Through her
tears, an angel suddenly appeared and instructed her to gather weeds
from the roadside. When the child offered the weeds at the church
altar the starry crimson "blossoms" burst forth from every
Tips and helpful hints in
relation to poinsettia care are as follows:
1 - Keep the plant in a well-lit, sunny location
2 - Ensure the plant is in well-drained soil
3 - The cactus plant should be shielded
from any drafts and require warmth - 72°-75°F during the day and 65°
to drafts or a cold temperature will make the
poinsettia drop its leaves.
4 - The blooms will drop if the plant is kept too
dry or over-watered. Water the Poinsettia
plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the
5 - Plant Food -
Fertilize the poinsettia if you keep it past the holiday
6 - Poinsettia plants can be moved outdoors in
the summer if the temperature is above 60°
Coloring of the bracts and flowering is induced by shortening
the amount of time the palntis exposed to light.
From late September to December 1, the plant should
be kept in total darkness between 5pm and 8am.
Poinsettia Christmas is
celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of
2275 million people,
but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural
festival. Customs and traditions are symbolized by familiar symbols
and icons, such as the Poinsettia, have come to represent the spirit
and meaning of this special time of the year.
The history, meaning and origin of
this familiar symbol
Traditions - Poinsettia
Meaning and origin of this traditional Christmas custom
History, Facts and information
about customs, symbols and traditions - Poinsettia
Meaning, history and origin of
traditional symbols - Poinsettia
Christmas, have a happy and prosperous