Thursday, December 17, 2009

Euphorbia pulcherrima ...

Also known as the -- poinsettia!

I wanted to blog about poinsettias this year, but realized I missed National Poinsettia Day, which was on December 12th. Oh well, better late than never. The poinsettia is a flower indigenous to Mexico. It was named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico (this was before we had Ambassadors). It is said he liked the flower so much that he brought it back to the US to cultivate it and give it as gifts for Christmas. The Legend of the Poinsettia is a story about a poor little girl who was sad that she had no gift to give at Christmas Eve service. She picked a bouquet of weeds and presented them at the nativity scene. The legend goes onto to say the weeds burst into the bright red flowers of the poinsettia because the little girl gave them with all her heart. Here are some interesting facts ...
  • There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias.
  • 74% of Americans prefer red poinsettias.
  • 8% prefer white poinsettias.
  • 6% prefer pink poinsettias.
  • The Aztecs used the plants to make red dye.
  • Poinsettias are grown all over the world.
  • They need 50F+ nighttime temps to survive.
  • They don't grow well if the temp is over 70F.
  • Poinsettias are NOT highly toxic, as most believe.
The boys and I were reading about poinsettias the other day in their Christmas Bible program. There was a simple craft (above pic) to make flowers using red construction paper. Since this was a Bible program, they were referring to the star shape of the poinsettia to remind people about the star of Bethlehem. Instead of using yellow paper dots for the center, we used gold stars on both sides of the flowers. They look neat hanging on the window of our classroom door, especially with the snow behind them. I don't usually buy real poinsettias. I was always under the impression that they were highly poisonous. I didn't realize they were not. I see them all over the place, so I assume they do okay in people's homes in Montana. For now though, I'll settle with the bunch of artificial ones I have -- they stay pretty year after year! Do you buy real poinsettias for Christmas?


  1. Pretty craft. I thought poinsettias were poisonous too. Love their colour . Have not given any as presents yet.

  2. Hey, who knew there was a National Poinsettia Day? I'll put it on my calendar for next year. Thanks!

  3. Another awesome craft Rena. Vince buys 2 or 3 each year for his office and then brings them home in the new year for me to kill.... oops I mean for me to care for. lol And last year, his mom took one home and planted it in her garden in the spring. It bloomed all summer. Maybe she can take them all home this year... and save me the guilt of killing them.

  4. Those look beautiful on your window!!!!

  5. Wow...I did not know all of this about poinsettas. What a cool post...and I got to learn more about history! I LOVE history! :)

  6. I love poinsettias and it's good to know how to keep them alive. I have trouble with that! I usually don't buy any since we usually travel during the holidays.

  7. I used to but
    I thought they were harmful to pets if they ate the leaves kina like mistletoe
    So I stop having them around the house just in case

  8. I really like those flowers you and the boys made.

    There's a wild variety in the Virgin Islands that can get quite big and rangy, a sort of loose limbed plant that is almost viney. It has small flowers and is quite pretty when in bloom. However when they go dormant they're ugly and look about dead.

    Actually growing pointsettas takes a lot of time and work. Hubby tried it a few times when he was going plants professionally but quickly gave it up.

  9. Those are pretty. We have a poinsettia that we've had for about 3 years now. It was red when we got it, then turned green and has been green ever since. I guess it likes where we have it sitting. lol