Around this time of year, you’ll find the poinsettia’s scarlet, star-shaped leaves virtually everywhere you look, from church services to home décor. The poinsettia is one of the most recognizable signs that Christmas is here, and the annual sales support that fact – during the holidays, we will purchase more than $200 million worth of the brilliant flower. The tropical plants have about 100 different species and in their natural habitat, can grow up to 12 feet tall, rivaling any Christmas tree! The flower is part of the folklore of the Aztec Indians, who used it in various ways, from dying textiles to curing fevers.
The bright red leaves of the poinsettia flower are often thought to be it’s petals, but it is actually the yellow buds in the center that are the flower petals. While the red – or white – poinsettia is most popular this time of year, the flower also blooms in pink and yellow hues. They bloom in December, making them a logical choice for a holiday flower; but how did a lowly bloom from Mexico become one of the most prolific symbols of the season?
One common explanation is that the plant is a representation of the Star of Bethlehem, the celestial phenomenen that guided the three wisemen to the birthplace of Christ. However, it may be a Mexican Christmas legend responsible for the poinsettia’s holiday association. Tradition tells of a young peasant girl, too poor to afford a gift for the Christ child; when she placed a weed, all she could bring, at His feet, it blossomed into a stunning flower. In Mexico, the poinsettia is known as Flores de Noche Buena, or “flowers of the holy night”.
If you use poinsettias to decorate, don’t worry about the myth of their poison. Although the plant may be mildly toxic to pets and cause some discomfort, for the most part the plants will not cause serious illness. To keep your poinsettia blooming throughout the season, keep the flower next to a window for sunlight, but don’t let the leaves touch a cold surface. The flowers do best at around 70 degrees, and should be keep moist, but not overly soaked to avoid root rot.
To fill your home and holiday décor with red and white Christmas poinsettias, call Bagoy’s Florist and order them today! Don’t forget to browse through all our holiday flowers and gifts to deliver the perfect gift this season!