Today is Poinsettia Day!

Poinsettia

Today commemorates the day American botanist and ambassador Joel Roberts Poinsett died. He originally discovered the Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima) in Southern Mexico.

Poinsettias are traditionally used as a decorative flower during the Christmas season. Mexicans believe the plants represent the Star of Bethlehem, which is one reason for their association with Christmas.

Also, there’s a story about a young boy who wanted to see a Nativity Play at a local church. He realized that he didn’t have a gift for the Baby Jesus, so he gathered some green branches. Others scoffed at his choice of gift – that is, until as he placed them near the manger and a bright red poinsettia flower bloomed on each branch.

This story helped give rise to their traditional use at Christmas.

Poinsettia flowers, with their flaming red leaves, can be placed wherever you would normally place plants. They are commonly used around offices in general and personal work spaces during the holidays

I’ve often wondered at the proper pronunciation of poinsettia. Is it ‘poyn-set-a” or ‘poyn-set-ee-a’? What do you think?

English: Poinsettia Display, Wisley Bright red...

This image shows a red Poinsettia (Euphorbia p...

Category: General, Holidays

8 Responses to “Today is Poinsettia Day!”

  1. Rottymom02 Reply

    How Long Are Poinsettias Supposed To Live? I have 2 beautiful plants that are far from dead, and I would love to prolong their life- any tips or suggestions for their care?

    • Christmas and poinsettias are practically inseparable. As you venture forth on one of the busiest shopping days of the season, you’ll likely see poinsettias adorning more stores, more homes and more businesses than any other plant.
      Poinsettias had their beginning in Mexico near present-day Taxco during Aztec times. For most of the year, these nondescript shrubs have no particular beauty, but when the days get shorter they develop brilliant red flowers. The Aztecs called it “Cuetlaxochitle,” and it was a symbol of purity.

      The Monet Twilight poinsettia is one of many variations. Albert Ecke started cultivating the plant in California in the early 1900s.
      Courtesy Ecke Ranch
      The poinsettia’s namesake, Joel Roberts Poinsett, was a plantation owner and botanist from South Carolina. From 1825-29, he served as the United States’ first ambassador to Mexico, and while visiting Taxco, he was impressed with the brilliant red flowers he found blooming in December. He sent some of the plants to his greenhouse in the United States.

      A German taxonomist had already given them their botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima, in 1833, but because of Poinsett’s connections with the plants, poinsettia has become the accepted common name.

      The poinsettia’s history as a cultivated crop starts with Albert Ecke. He emigrated from Germany to Southern California and began growing the bright scarlet flowers in the early 1900s. His son, Paul, realized the potential of the plant and in 1920 developed the first successful poinsettia cultivar grown as an indoor potted plant.

      Paul turned the family business over to his son in the mid-1960s. Paul Jr. assembled scientific and technical knowledge to bring the Ecke ranch into prominence. At his passing, it passed to other family members, who continue the tradition today.

      More than 75 percent of the poinsettias grown in North America -- and 50 percent grown in the world -- get their start at the Paul Ecke Ranch in Encinitas, Calif. Each year their plant breeders hybridize more than 10,000 different new varieties of plants.

      Poinsettias today are much different than the plant Poinsett sent to his plantation. Although red is the traditional color, new and exciting hues are growing in popularity. Among the new varieties are pinks, whites, purples and multicolored offerings. One new variety is Plum Pudding, the first purple poinsettia. Another variety, Heirloom Peach, has a distinctive coral color. Another innovation is the Winter Rose Series, which features flowers of pink, white, red or marble.

      The Jingle Bells poinsettia is a descendant of the original red Mexican plant.
      Courtesy Ecke Ranch
      For the longest-lasting, most attractive plants, look for those with mature, thoroughly colored and expanded bracts (the colorful parts of the poinsettia). Look for plenty of dark, rich, green foliage as a sign of good plant health. The best plants have dense, plentiful foliage all the way down the stem. If the leaves are turning yellow or dropping, choose a different plant.

      Look for plants that are balanced, full and attractive from all angles. One generally accepted standard is that the best plants are approximately 2 1/2 times taller than the diameter of the container.

      Durability and freshness are critical. Select plants with stiff stems, good bract and leaf retention, with no signs of wilting, breaking or drooping. Avoid plants that are displayed too long in paper, plastic or mesh sleeves. Poinsettias need space; the longer they remain sleeved, the more the plant quality will deteriorate.

      Examine the soil and avoid waterlogged soil, particularly if the plant appears wilted. This is often a sign of root rot. When transporting the plant, protect it from chilly winds and temperatures below 50 1/4 F. Put the poinsettia into a sleeve or a large, roomy shopping bag to provide adequate protection for transporting the plant home when it is cold and windy.

      Poinsettias thrive on indirect, natural daylight. Give them at least six hours of diffused light daily. To prolong the bright color of the poinsettia bracts, keep daytime temperatures under 70 1/4 F. Never place the plants near drafts, excess heat or the dry air from televisions, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

      Poinsettias require moderately moist soil, so water the plants thoroughly when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Remove the plant from decorative pots or covers that will keep the plant in standing water. The most serious disease is root rot, so never let the poinsettia remain in standing water or it could kill the plant. When you do water, completely saturate the soil. It is not necessary to fertilize the poinsettia when it is in bloom.

  2. Sarah Palin Reply

    Why Was Santa Anna Considered One Of The Worst Leaders In The History Of Mexico? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_L%C3%B3pez_de_Santa_Anna
    ‘His centralist rhetoric and military failures resulted in Mexico losing just over half its territory, beginning with the Texas Revolution and culminating with the Mexican Cession of 1848.

    ‘While captive in Texas, Joel Roberts Poinsett ??? U.S. minister to Mexico in 1824 ??? offered a harsh assessment of General Santa Anna’s situation:

    ‘Say to General Santa Anna that when I remember how ardent an advocate he was of liberty ten years ago, I have no sympathy for him now, that he has gotten what he deserves.

    ‘Santa Anna replied:

    ‘Say to Mr. Poinsett that it is very true that I threw up my cap for liberty with great ardor, and perfect sincerity, but very soon found the folly of it. A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one.[14]‘
    Gomez, I think I understand what Santa Anna said.

    Dictatorship is the only government you are fit for.

    • He was borderline insane, completely confrontational without a hint of diplomacy, loved himself and cared nothing for his troops… In fact, the reason we won so handily at San Jacinto is, we sent a ho to seduce the maggot. And he took the bait!!!

      And, Gomez, if we’re so bad, why were so many Mexicans fighting on OUR side and AGAINST Santa Anna.

      If you think Mexico is so great, GO THERE!

      See you next week.

  3. Pedro Reply

    Is A Poinsettia Really Poisonous?

    • Dear Pedro,

      Euphorbia pulcherrima, or noche buena, is a species of flowering flower indigenous to Mexico and Central America. It is commonly known as poinsettia ( /p??n's?ti.?/), after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant into the US in 1825. It is also called the Atat?rk flower in Turkey.

      Rumoured toxicity
      In the United States and perhaps elsewhere, there is a common misconception that the poinsettia is highly toxic. This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf.

      While the sap and latex of many plants of the spurge genus are indeed toxic, the poinsettia’s toxicity is relatively mild. Its latex can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals. It is also mildly irritating to the skin or stomach and may sometimes cause diarrhea and vomiting if eaten. Sap introduced into the human eye may cause temporary blindness. An American Journal of Emergency Medicine study of 22,793 cases reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers showed no fatalities, and furthermore that a strong majority of poinsettia exposures are accidental, involve children, and usually do not result in any type of medical treatment. POISINDEX, a major source for poison control centers, says it would take 500 bracts for a 50-pound child to eat an amount found to be toxic in experiments. An Ohio State University study showed no problems even with extremely large doses.

      Who am I, see my video in Youtube Pedro…
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  4. Spencer Christmas Jr. Reply

    Welcome To The Christmas Trivia Game-Cane You Answer These Questions With The Correct Answers? Christmas is my FAVORITE holiday, I love Christmas, ok now the following questions are not multiple choice,
    1)What popular children’s cracker today was introduced in 1902 as a Christmas ornament?
    2)In 1939 Robert May created this Christmas figure as a Christmas promotion for Montgomery Ward department store in Chicago?

    3)In the 1920???s what world wide beverage company adopted the Santa Claus figure for a winter advertising promotion?
    4)Who was the United States first ambassador to Mexico?
    5)What popular Christmas candy today had it???s debute and was given out by a choirmaster in 1670 to quiet the noisy children?
    6)What best selling Christmas song did Gene Autry record in 1951?
    7)What American President barred the Christmas Tree from being displayed in the White House?
    8)What years were the first machine printed Christmas Card offered in a United States Variety Store?
    9)In what year did Coke-Cola hire Haddon Sundblom to illustrate Santa Claus dressed in the red Santa Claus suit and Santa Claus hat trimmed in white fur that helped standardize the image of the gift-bringer in the eyes of America?
    10)The politicians, women???s groups, and seniors??? organizations protested this Christmas song written in 1979 and popularized by Elmo and Patsy?
    11)Crying up the lum ??? is how some Scottish children tell Santa Claus their Christmas gift wishes. What is ???crying up the lum ????
    12)The Nutcracker phenomenon started as a story by E.T.A. Hoffmann in what year?
    13)To determine who opens the first Christmas gift. What kind of glass Christmas ornament has to be found first on the Christmas tree?
    14) What are the names of Santa Clauses eight reindeer as named in Clement Moore???s poem ???The Night Before Christmas????

    • 1.Barnum’s Animal Crackers
      2.Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
      3.Coca Cola
      4. Joel R. Poinsett
      5.Candy Cane
      6.Frosty the Snowman
      7.Teddy Roosevelt
      8.1850's
      9. 1931
      10.Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer
      11.They stick their heads up the chimney and shout out their Christmas wishes.
      12. 1816
      13.The glass pickle ornament
      14.Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen (Rudolph first appeared in 1939)

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