A super brief history.
Euphorbia pulcherrima, is native to Mexico and was long used by the Aztec Indians to create rich red dye from the bracts and the sap was used to help with fevers. It was first introduced into the United States by US Ambassador, Joel Roberts Poinsett. He cleverly named the plant after himself and brought to life the widely popular holiday staple, the Poinsettia. And the rest is history.
Don’t be fooled!
Poinsettia’s get a bad rap! It is widely, and falsely, known that they are poisonous when in fact they are not. The milky white sap can cause mild skin irritations to those with a latex allergy, but the effects are not life threatening, to humans or pets. It is always important to watch your animals around the plants, or any plants for that matter, ingesting large amounts of the plant can cause them to show mild flu-like symptoms (aka they will throw up).
Getting to know Poinsettias.
- National Poinsettia Day is December 12th is in the US
- The red “flowers” of the Poinsettia are not flowers at all! They are actually called bracts.
- The true flowers are found in the center of the bracts, they are incredibly small and yellow.
- In their native Mexico they can grow up to 15 feet tall!
- They are very picky and require specific photo periods (12 hours of darkness each day) in order for the bracts to turn color.
- They come in wide range of colors not just red. You can find poinsettias in pink, white, lime green, white/red speckled, variegated and more!
Time to decorate!
Poinsettias for all of us at Smith Gardens, Inc. are a sign that the holidays are upon us! They make the perfect gift for holiday gatherings and can easily bring holiday cheer to your décor. Use them as centerpieces on the table, around the fireplace, or under your tree if you have one. You can also snip the bracts off and create floral arrangements with them! The possibilities are endless!