Flower Feature: Poinsettias

The holidays are almost upon us! What better time to spotlight one of the season’s most iconic blooms, the poinsettia.

The poinsettia is the flower of the Euphorbia pulcherrima, a short, bushy tree native to Central America and found in abundance in Mexico. What is commonly refereed to as the ‘flower’ of the poinsettia is actually a deceptively colored and grouped array of leaves. That’s right, those scarlet petals are not petals at all. The ‘flower’ portion of a poinsettia is actually the small yellow buds at the center of each leaf bundle.

The colored leaves of the poinsettia flower have been coveted by different cultures going all the way back to the time of the Aztecs. The native people’s of Central America prized the plant for its hue, which they used as a dye, as well as for the plants antipyretic medicinal properties.



With the arrival of Christian Europeans to Central America, the flower was adopted and given spiritual significance. The plant’s status as a Christmas flower can be traced back to 16th century Mexico. Regional legends tell of a young girl who wanted to bring a gift to the newly born Jesus Christ, but had no money to buy one. The legend says the girl was instructed by an angel to gather weeds along the roadside and place them before the church alter. Upon placing the weeds on the altar, crimson blooms began to sprout from the tangle of plants, becoming beautiful poinsettias.

Today, poinsettias are grown for market all across Central America and California. Poinsettias are still widely considered to be the Christmas flower, and no seasonal floral arrangement is complete without them.

Some people still hold to the misconception that poinsettias are highly toxic. This claim is wholly untrue and is believed to stem from an urban legend dating back to 1919. In the tall tale, two boys reportedly died after consuming a poinsettia flower. There is no truth to the story and no reports of toxicity related to poinsettias have ever been recorded.

So if you’re looking to add some color to the season, poinsettias are the flower of choice! Bright, vibrant, and steeped in history, poinsettias are the perfect compliment to any seasonal decorations. See some examples and take 10% off your holiday order with the coupon below.


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