National Poinsettia Day is held every year on the 12th December and acts as a bridge between the Mexican roots of the plant and the United States. The plant industry also say that if you have not bought your poinsettia by this date, your chances of getting one before Christmas are very high so it is also used as a big marketing ploy to boost sales
But the poinsettia plant has become a standard part of every Christmas display since the turn of the 19th century.
The bright red flowers offer a splash of brightness to any hearth at this time of the year and I, for one, always look to grab one for the wife as part of her annual Christmas presents.
But why has the poinsettia, a tropical plant that was much used by the Aztecs, become such an integral part of the Western world and Christmas?
A USA diplomat, Joels Robert Poinsett (hence the name) liked the plant so much, he sent some back to his nurseries in South Carolina in the 1830’s from where he gave cut plants away to his friends and family. They were eventually sold at the end of the 19th century as whole plants by an enterprising West Coast horticulturist, the Ecke family, who are still the main producer and supplier of these plants in North America.
But that does not explain the link between poinsettia’s and Christmas!
This relationship is based on a Mexican legend where a poor girl had no present to give the baby Jesus so picked some weeds and placed them at his feet where they burst into life which was seen as a miracle.
They have been known as ‘Flores de Noche Buena’, or ‘Flowers of the Holy Night’ since that time.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this littel story about the legend of the poinsettia plant?
If you have, let me know in the comments below.