Most wild populations are on Pacific-facing slopes in steep canyons. It is not coincidence that Mexican people admire this plant. They produced a fuller, more compact plant by grafting two varieties of poinsettia together. Poinsettias are cheery plants that are widely grown indoors over Christmas for their brightly coloured bracts. Prescott had just finished writing a book, ‘Conquest of Mexico’ where he gave details of Poinsett’s finding. The poinsettia was described as a new species in 1834 by German scientist Johann Friedrich Klotzsch. Poinsettias contribute about $200 million annually to the United States economy in wholesale sales alone. When the pot seems light, it indicates that the soil is dry and you need to water the plant. is derived. Paul Ecke Junior developed the grafting technique causing seedlings to branch, allowing the Poinsettia industry to flourish. Wild poinsettias occur from Mexico to Guatemala, growing on mid-elevation, Pacific-facing slopes. She felt embarrassed that she didn’t have more to offer to Jesus and sadness filled her heart. As she walked through the chapel to the altar, she remembered the kind words spoken to her by her cousin: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in his eyes. [12], The flowers of the poinsettia are unassuming and do not attract pollinators. [7], Euphorbia pulcherrima is a shrub or small tree, typically reaching a height of 0.6–4 metres (2–13 ft). Coincidentally, December 12 is also The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe), one of Mexico’s most popular Catholic festivals that celebrates the belief that a man encountered the Virgin Mary, Mexico’s patron saint, in Mexico City on that day in 1531. Each year on the 12th day of December, people across the United States recognize Poinsettia Day. Poinsettias are shrubs or small trees, with heights of 0.6–4 m (2.0–13.1 ft). A poinsettia left to grow on its own will naturally take an open, somewhat weedy look. In July of 2002, the House of Representatives created National Poinsettia Day in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett. You may be able to tell when watering is needed by lifting the entire pot. Some stores sell poinsettias in cellophane cones that … If Euphorbia pulcherrima is the scientific name for these plants, one may well ask how their common name (which looks like it should be a scientific name!) The poinsettia is named after the man who first brought the plant to the United States. [10] In Chile and Peru, the plant became known as Crown of the Andes. This story reminds us that that any gift is beautiful when given with love and even the smallest gift would be appreciated if given with an open heart! Home » Interesting facts » How Did the Poinsettia Become Associated with Christmas. Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or children as commonly believed unless ingested in large quantities. Poinsettias are tropical plants and can grow nearly 10 feet high in the wild. [16], The poinsettia occurs in Central America, occurring from Mexico to southern Guatemala. Poinsettia is also known as “Christmas Star” or “Christmas Flower” because of the colorful star-shaped bracts that are always around during Christmas time. In Nahuatl , the language of the Aztecs, the Poinsettia was called Cuitlaxochitl (from cuitlatl, for residue, and xochitl, for flower), meaning "flower that … [7], The poinsettia is the world's most economically important potted plant. External exposure to the plant may result in a skin rash for some. ” Immediately after, she felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene. In spring, return the plant to a sunny area and water well. Infection by poinsettia branch-inducing phytoplasma is actually desirable, as it keeps the plants shorter with more flowers. These trees, in their wild form widely grow across Mexico to Guatemala. QUESTION: How do you take care of a potted poinsettia indoors?Every year my blooms fall off and they look terrible after just a few weeks. How the Poinsettia became known as Christmas symbol? [10], The plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or María, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. What language is Poinsettia? The Eckes' technique made it possible to get every seedling to branch, resulting in a bushier plant. And indeed, the plant is deserving of its name. Often mistaken for flower petals, its colourful bracts are actually modified leaves that surround a bunch of small, inconspicuous yellow flowers called cyathia. The “blooms” of poinsettia plant are actually called bracts. It should be neither dripping wet nor totally dry, and if it is, … This plant is native to Central America and grows in a 1,200-mile span between Mexico and Guatemala. To ensure the plant thrives and grows to be a healthy and beautiful, choose one where the yellow flower buds are still closed. Once you hear the name of this plant, you can likely picture exactly what it looks like in … Though Arnold later admitted that the story was hearsay and that poinsettias were not proven to be poisonous, the plant was thus thought deadly. Joel Roberts Poinsett, a physician, botanist, and the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, spotted a wild Poinsettia growing in a deciduous, tropical Mexican forest in the 1820's. There is a specific poinsettia variety growing in Guerrero (Mexico). [5] Klotzsch credited Carl Ludwig Willdenow with the species name "pulcherrima", and the authority is given as Willd. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. The poinsettia (/ p ɔɪ n ˈ s ɛ t i ə / or / p ɔɪ n ˈ s ɛ t ə /) (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family (Euphorbiaceae).Indigenous to Central America, it was described as a new species in 1834. The plant bears dark green dentate leaves that measure 7–16 centimetres (2.8–6.3 in) in length. [22], Besides changing the market from mature plants shipped by rail to cuttings sent by air, he sent free plants to television stations for them to display on air from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Joel Roberts Poinsett was born in 1779 in Charleston, South Carolina, USA. And remember, the smaller pots need watering more often than big ones because they dry out faster. [15] Contact with any part of the plant by children or pets often has no effect, though it may cause nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting if swallowed. Today, Poinsettias are an indispensable part of Christmas decor throughout the world. [29], Albert Ecke emigrated from Germany to Los Angeles in 1900, opening a dairy and orchard in the Eagle Rock area. After the obsolete genus name Poinsettia, named after Joel Roberts Poinsett (19th-century US minister to Mexico); equivalent to Poinsett +‎ -ia. The American Medical Association’s Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants lists nothing more than occasional vomiting as a side effect of ingesting. Once selected, Poinsettias require little care. He introduced this tree to the United States in the early 1820s. Population sizes are frequently very small, with as few as a dozen individuals. They became associated with the Christmas holiday and are popular seasonal decorations. This introduction forever changed the way we think about Poinsettias, not only in United States, but all over the world. Poinsettia was named after the United States ambassador to Mexico Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who played a crucial role in making the Poinsettia into the most popular Christmas plant. But, after Poinsett introduced the plant to the U.S., it slowly gained popularity and took the name of the ambassador, becoming known as the poinsettia. Populations were once found in rolling hill areas, though many have gone extinct. In addition to their role as traditional Christmas decorations, poinsettias can serve as tokens of goodwill, friendship, and joy during the holiday season and b Botanically, the plant is known as Euphorbia pulcherrima. Specific details about its spread from there are largely unverifiable, but it was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in 1829 by Colonel Robert Carr. [10] In Spain it is known as Flor de Pascua or Pascua, meaning Easter flower. If ingested, mild drooling or vomiting can occur, or rarely, diarrhea. Keep it indoor when the sun is harsh and don’t over water it. [8] Possibly as early as 1826, Poinsett began sending poinsettias from Mexico back to his greenhouses in South Carolina. If possible, move the plant to a cooler room at night. Origin of poinsettia. The poinsettia is named after the man who first brought the plant to the United States. However, the story turned out to be completely unsubstantiated. This is a sign the plant is too stressed and is dying. The poinsettia was named after Joel Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, who "discovered" it while he was on a trip in 1828. Poinsettia Facts. Klotzsch credited Carl Ludwig Willdenow with the species name "pulcherrima", and the authority is given as Willd. By 1836, the plant was widely known as the Poinsettia in English-speaking countries. It remained in relative obscurity until Joel Roberts Poinsett introduced it to the United States. If the soil always feels cold and wet, it means the roots are stressed from over watering. Cut back all canes (branches) to about 6 inches from the pot’s rim. However, you should avoid direct sunlight since it will dry out more quickly. Well, the common name derives from the fact that Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S. [10] Nothing is known about pollination in wild poinsettias, though wasps are noted to occasionally visit the cyathia. Unfortunately, she had no gift to present to the Christ child during the Christmas Eve, so she gathered a bundle of roadside weeds and formed a bouquet. History of the Poinsettia. Robert Buist, a Philadelphia nurseryman and florist, saw the potential of the newly introduced poinsettia, and named it after Joel Poinsett. Definition of poinsettia in the Definitions.net dictionary. They are symbols of good cheer and they just scream Christmas time! As the plant grew in popularity, it was eventually named after Poinsett, who had a long and honored career as a congressman and a founder of the Smithsonian Institution. [19] The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice of Jesus's crucifixion. Poinsettias are named after an amateur botanist, Joel Robert Poinsett, who brought the plant to the U.S. from Mexico in 1825. Because of his interest in botany, he … Classic Red. At that time, the legend of the little Pepita was born, forever mixing the red and green colors to Christmas folklore in a story in which Poinsettias and Christmas come together. He also represented South Carolina in Congress and was Secretary of War. They were cultivated by the Aztecs for use in traditional medicine. It is particularly well known for its red and green foliage and is widely used in Christmas floral displays. These wild Mexican plants were 12 to 15 feet tall with only 1 or 2 stems. Red and Gold Ball Berries Pine Core, 50 Clear LED Lights with Timer. Joel Roberts Poinsett was appointed by President John Quincy Adams as … They are grouped within the cyathia (small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch, or false flowers). The red floral bracts were quite narrow and droopy as compared with those of modern poinsettias, and they had large open centers. We want to make sure that our family, friends and loved ones are happy, too. The plant was a Euphorbia pulcherima and part of the spurge family. The botanical name Euphorbia pulcherrima was assigned to the plant by the German botanist Karl Ludwig Wilenow. It was a Christmas time and everything was so beautiful. She was preparing to visit the Nativity scene at the chapel. It was a custom in many villages to honor the Christ child by bringing gifts for him to the church. When it comes to watering Poinsettias, you have to find the balance between not too wet and not too dry. Today, Poinsettia is the most popular Christmas plant and is grown globally for Christmas celebrations. [13], Aztec people use the plant to produce red dye and as an antipyretic medication. These bracts change color in response to the plant forming flowers. If the pot has a saucer beneath it, make sure to empty it after each watering. [4] This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf. Although the legend’s truth can not be established, it is certainly a beautiful metaphor for the meaning of Christmas. Montezuma, a 15th century Aztec king, adorned his palace with Poinsettia, having his people cultivate the flower as a gift from the Gods. It derives its common English name from Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who is credited with introducing the plant to the US in the 1820s. Poinsettia's botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, means "the most beautiful Euphorbia". [30], In the late 1980s, university researcher John Dole[31] discovered the method previously known only to the Eckes and published it, allowing competitors to flourish, particularly those using low-cost labor in Latin America. - The poinsettia, a contemporary symbol of Christmas, was introduced to the United States and named after Joel Robert Poinsett in 1825, the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico. - Last year, the wholesale value of the poinsettia crop reached nearly $170 million-a jump of more than 400 percent from 1976. It is the first known phytoplasma that has economically advantageous effects. When selecting a Poinsettia for yourself or as a gift, make sure it has healthy, dark green foliage, well-colored bracts, stiff stems and that no roots are coming out of the pot. [14] In 1944, the plant was included in H. R. Arnold's book Poisonous Plants of Hawaii on this premise. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the “Flores de Noche Buena” or “Flowers of the Holy Night”. Today, the plant is known in Mexico as “La Flor de la Nochebuena”, which means “Flower of the Holy Night” because it blooms during the Christmas season. [10] In Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, the plant is called Cuetlaxochitl, meaning "flower that grows in residues or soil"[10] Today it is known in Mexico and Guatemala as flor de Nochebuena, meaning Christmas Eve flower. Indigenous to Mexico and Central America, it was described as a new species in 1834. [22] In the US, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, marking the anniversary of Joel Roberts Poinsett's death. Taxonomically speaking, Euphorbia pulcherrima, widely known as Poinsettia, belongs to a large family of plants known as Euphorbiaceae (the Spurge family). Poinsettia Perfection. Christmas can be the most exciting time of the year, but finding the perfect gift is a challenge that everyone faces at some point. The use of the plant in celebrating Christmas actually dates all the way back to the 17th century, when Franciscan monks in Mexico began using it at the Christmas ceremony. For those of us who just can't get enough of Christmas (hey, we also think it's totally acceptable to start blasting out Wham! They range from creamy white to pink to the traditional bright red. Poinsettias are tropical plants and can grow nearly 10 feet high in the wild. The truth is that Poinsettias have low toxicity. Poinsettia Care After the Holidays. (Of course, the plant wasn't called "Poinsettia" yet, as it was named after him years later). According to legend, a young Mexican girl named Pepita lived in a small village in a poor house. If possible, check the soil before buying. Fungal diseases affecting greenhouse poinsettia operations include Pythium root rot, Rhizoctonia root and stem rot, black root rot, scab, powdery mildew, and Botrytis blight. [9] Prior to poinsettia, it was known as "Mexican flame flower" or "painted leaf". They are often disposed of once they start to fade, but with a little care, you can keep them all year and the bracts will colour up again the following year. [27][10][11], To produce extra axillary buds that are necessary for plants containing multiple flowers, a phytoplasma infection—whose symptoms include the proliferation of axillary buds—is used. Poinsettia. The Ecke family's business, now led by Paul Ecke III, decided to stop producing plants in the US, but as of 2008, they still served about 70 percent of the domestic market and 50 percent of the worldwide market. What does poinsettia mean? The poinsettia (/pɔɪnˈsɛtiə/ or /pɔɪnˈsɛtə/)[1][2] (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a commercially important plant species of the diverse spurge family (Euphorbiaceae). – Michelle R. ANSWER: Don’t feel too bad.Poinsettias are notoriously hard to care for as a houseplant. Poinsettia Day also honors another American, Californian Paul Ecke Junior, who is considered the father of the commercial North American Poinsettia industry. Bacterial diseases include bacterial soft rot and bacterial canker, while a viral disease is Poinsettia mosaic virus. They were the first to begin using Poinsettias at the holidays during their Nativity ceremonies. [13] Each year in the US, approximately 70 million poinsettias are sold in a period of six weeks, at a value of US$250 million. In fact, the poinsettia tree is named after the first US minister to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett. [26] There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia that have been patented in the US. Poinsettias make a great gift when visiting family for the holidays. Its range is about 2,000 km (1,200 mi) long, encompassing mid-elevation tropical dry forests. Wild poinsettia populations are highly fragmented, as their habitat is experiencing largely unregulated deforestation. The colored bracts—which are normally flaming red, with cultivars being orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled—are often mistaken for flower petals because of their groupings and colors, but are actually leaves. [28] The discovery of the role phytoplasmas play in the growth of axillary buds is credited to Ing-Ming Lee of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. The holotype had been collected in Mexico during an 1803–1804 expedition by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland. There is a somewhat anomalous population of wild poinsettias in the northern part of the Mexican state of Guerrero and Oaxaca, which is much further inland in the hot and seasonally dry forests than the rest of the species' range. According to poinsettia flower history provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, American growers produced more than 33 million poinsettias in 2014. Poinsettias are native to Central America and Mexico, especially an area of southern Mexico known as “Taxco del Alarcon” and further south where they flower naturally during the winter. [6], It was known by the common name "poinsettia" as early as 1836,[7] derived from Joel Roberts Poinsett, a botanist and the first US Minister to Mexico. The poinsettia was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779 - 1851). Euphorbia is one of the genera of the family Euphorbiaceae, with more than 2000 species including Euphorbia pulcherrima. [4], An attempt to determine a poisonous dose of poinsettia to rats failed, even after reaching experimental doses equivalent to consuming 500 leaves, or nearly 1 kg (2.2 lb) of sap. The Poinsettia plant was named after Joel Robert Poinsett, who was an American ambassador to Mexico around 1829. [13], Poinsettias are popularly, though incorrectly, said to be toxic to humans and other animals. A nurseryman from Pennsylvania, John Bartram is credited as being the first person to sell poinsettias under its botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima The plant should be full and bushy, and you should not be able to see through the stems and leaves. Poinsettias are not poisonous to pets or children as commonly believed unless ingested in large quantities. A conservation risk typical for species with wild and cultivated populations is the contamination of the wild gene pool by hybridization with cultivated individuals. Though often stated to be highly toxic, the poinsettia is not dangerous[3] to pets or children. Poinsett was an amateur botanist and liked the plant so much that he sent several back to his home in South Carolina where he grew them in his green house and … He also appeared on television programs like The Tonight Show and Bob Hope's Christmas specials to promote the plants. Bracts are a showy set of leaves that form on top of the dark green foliage of a poinsettia. In 92.4% of calls, there was no effect from exposure, and in 3.4% of calls there were minor effects, defined as "minimally bothersome". Many of these poinsettias are grown by the Ecke family business, which serves half the worldwide market and 70% of the US market. What's in a Name? There they grow to shrub-like proportions. Poinsett served South Carolina in the state legislature and as Chairman of the Board of Public Works. His son, Paul Ecke, developed the grafting technique, but it was the third generation of Eckes, Paul Ecke Jr., who was responsible for advancing the association between the plant and Christmas. Make sure the Poinsettias get a specific amount of light. Poinsettia was named after the former US ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett who introduced the Poinsettia to the United States. In 1825, President James Monroe appointed Poinsett the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico. Poinsettias are popular garden plants in tropical and subtropical areas and are well-known potted plants associated with winter festivities in temperate regions. It is also estimated that 35 million Poinsettias are sold in the United States each year. Many species have common names that vary from region to region and country to country, including Euphorbia pulcherrima which is widely known as Poinsettia in North America, but also all over the world. Your plant will last longer if it’s in bright, natural light. [18] From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. In 1970 the US Food and Drug Administration published a newsletter stating erroneously that "one poinsettia leaf can kill a child", and in 1980 they were prohibited from nursing homes in a county in North Carolina due to this supposed toxicity. [22], Until the 1990s, the Ecke family, who had moved their operation to Encinitas, California, in 1923, had a virtual monopoly on poinsettias owing to a technique that made their plants much more attractive. However, Cuetlaxochitl was more than just a symbol for Aztecs. Although not a true bloom – it is these bracts that give the poinsettia plant its beautiful color. The plant was later named to honor Ambassador Poinsett’s efforts. Poinsettia Facts. [20], Poinsettias are popular Christmas decorations[21] in homes, churches, offices, and elsewhere across North America, as a result of an extensive marketing campaign by the Ecke family that began by shipping free poinsettias to television stations for use on-air. Poinsettias prefer cooler temperatures overnight and slightly humid air. The plants also require abundant light during the day for the brightest color. Meaning of poinsettia. Poinsettias, at times, reach a height of sixteen feet. It’s cold outside and warm in our souls. They used the plant as part of their mid-winter celebrations and planted it widely long before Europeans discovered North America. Forgetting the humbleness of her gift, the girl laid the weeds at the feet of the Christ child. Exposure to the plant, even consumption, most often results in no effect,[4] though it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.[3]. Genetic analyses showed that the wild populations in northern Guerrero are the likely ancestors of most cultivated poinsettias. These graceful flowers will add charm and beauty to your Christmas decorations and will also bring holiday cheer into your hearts and your homes! A historian and horticulturist, William Prescott named the Euphorbia Pulcherrima ‘Poinsettia’ to honor Poinsett’s discovery after being asked to give it a new name. In rare cases, exposure to the eye may result in eye irritation. Despite his successful career as a politician and ambassador, Poinsett will always be remembered for introducing the Poinsettia into the United States. Joel Roberts Poinsett was appointed by President John Quincy Adams as the first United States ambassador to Mexico in the 1820s. Christmas time is here and the magic of the season is all around us! As of 2012, wild poinsettias are not protected by Mexican law. Conditions that promote poinsettia propagation also favor certain diseases. Be careful that the stem does not begin to shrivel. When it comes to happiness, it’s just as good to give flowers as it is to receive them. The blood-red bracts were a symbol of sacrifices and creation. One population in the Mexican state of Guerrero is much further inland, however, and is thought to be the ancestor of most cultivated populations. Recent research has proved that Poinsettias are not poisonous. [8] Cultivation in the US began when diplomat Joel Roberts Poinsett sent some of the plants back to his greenhouses in South Carolina in the 1820s. And contrary to popular belief, Poinsettias are not poisonous. DON’T Forget to Protect the Plant in the Car. The poinsettia is named after the man who first brought the plant to the United States. Poinsettias are named after an amateur botanist, Joel Robert Poinsett, who brought the plant to the U.S. from Mexico in 1825. [22], Poinsettias are susceptible to several diseases, mostly fungal, but also bacterial and parasitic. It has been hypothesized that the inaccessibility of the canyons may protect the wild populations from human disturbance. As long as we’re with our closest friends and family, we’re satisfied and happy. The Aztecs called them “Cuetlaxochitl”, which means “flower that grows in residues or soil”. To receive them father of the Christ child by bringing gifts for him to the United States to! Is National poinsettia day also honors another American, Californian Paul Ecke Junior developed the grafting technique causing seedlings branch... Large open centers as compared with those of modern poinsettias, and should... Poinsett ( 1779 - 1851 ) so impressed by its color that he details. Of her gift, the girl laid the weeds at the feet the... Dry forests where wild poinsettias, not only in Mexico included the plants shorter with flowers... For their brightly coloured bracts often than big ones because they dry out more quickly is certainly a metaphor! 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Aimé Bonpland plant the poinsettia named after in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett ( 1779 1851! 1944, the plant will Last longer if it ’ s just as good to give as! Of Public Works feel too bad.Poinsettias are notoriously hard to care for as a new species in 1834 of than. Than 2000 species including Euphorbia pulcherrima was assigned to the United States than 400 percent 1976... For decorative purposes in Mexico during an 1803–1804 expedition by Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland look like.... Is certainly a beautiful metaphor for the holidays during their Nativity ceremonies poinsettia named after like. Plants associated with the Christmas holiday and are well-known potted plants and can nearly... Poinsettias rarely necessitates Medical treatment Christmas for their brightly coloured bracts Mexico back to his greenhouses in Carolina! Prefer cooler temperatures overnight and slightly humid air honor the Christ child by bringing gifts him... `` Mexican flame flower '' or `` painted leaf '' ) long, encompassing mid-elevation tropical dry.! During Christmas time and everything was so beautiful sadness filled her heart from human disturbance for those live! Most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the 12th day of December, people across the United States each year the! The roots are stressed from over watering bears dark green foliage and is widely used in floral.