The 12th December marks National Poinsettia Day and the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett who first introduced the plant into the US in 1828.
When was the Poinsettia plant first introduced?
Originally native to the southern part of Mexico, Taxco de Alarcon, the poinsettia was widely used by the Aztecs for both medicinal and cosmetic purposes, a purple dye can be extracted from the leaves and the white sap used to treat fevers. The plant, however, only coined its name and rose to popularity when Poinsett discovered it on his travels and brought cuttings back to his greenhouse in South Carolina. He then grew and distributed the plant between his friends and various botanical gardens and it became a plant loved by many in the US.
On first glance, many people think the red parts of the plant are flowers, when in fact these are a type of modified leaf known as bracts. Poinsettias come in three different colours; white, pink and the red which is the one see most often over the festive season.
Why are Poinsettias popular to send at Christmas?
There are many variations of an old tale that might explain why poinsettias are popular at Christmas. The story goes that a poor, young girl was on her way to visit Jesus, she wanted to give a gift but had nothing. In a bid to cheer her up, her cousin told her “even the smallest gift, given by someone who loves him will make Jesus happy." On her way she picked a small bouquet of weeds from the side of the road and proceeded to the altar, she felt embarrassed at her small gift but soon remembered the words of her cousin. As she placed the gift down, the weeds she had picked burst into a beautiful blaze of vibrant red blooms, a Christmas miracle. The plant was then named 'Flores de Noche Buena', or 'Flowers of the Holy Night'.
Buy quality Poinsettia Plants as Gifts this Christmas
This year when putting our Christmas range together we wanted to include such a classic plant as it just wouldn't be Christmas without a poinsettia or two.
This festive plant basket is full to the brim with seasonal favourites. With a red poinsettia, ivy, cyclamen, chamaedorea and fittonia, the Christmas cheer will be wherever this basket is.
The white and gold embossed tin add a contemporary feel to the otherwise traditional plant, it wouldn't go amiss placed centre stage of the table for the Christmas dinner.