Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima), also known as Christmas star flower Christmas star, lobster plant, painted leaf, and Mexican flame leaf, are indigenous to Mexico. They grow as shrubs, reaching heights of 12-feet tall, with the familiar red and green foliage and tiny yellow bud-like flowers.

With over 100 cultivated varieties, poinsettias come in all sorts of colors including the traditional red, apricot, salmon pink, orange, yellow, cream, and white. There are also plenty of multi-hued, marbled, and speckled variations.

You may also notice unusual blue, purple, and sparkly silver ones in shops: those are dyed and glittered, and, well, perhaps not really suitable for those of us who like some nature in our plants.

  • Prestige Red: Classic red, a best seller.
  • Jingle Bells: Red bracts splashed with soft pink or white.
  • Winter Rose Early Red: Smaller, curled, dark red bracts that resemble a rose bloom. Also available in white, pink, and marbled.
  • Plum Pudding: The first poinsettia with purple bracts.

Interesting Facts About Poinsettias-The Christmas Plant

  1. From the 17th Century, Franciscan friars in Mexico have used poinsettias in Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaves symbolize the Star of Bethlehem and the red color the sacrificial blood of Jesus.
  2. Poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) are a member of the spurge family.
  3. They are indigenous to Mexico. The first US ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, gave them their common name and introduced them to the United States in 1825.
  4. In tropical climates, they grow as a perennial shrub– 10 to 15 feet tall.
  5. Poinsettias cannot survive freezing temperatures. They are a houseplant in temperate and colder climates.
  6. The colored bracts (red, pink, white or marbled) are not flower petals but actually leaves. The yellow centers are their flowers.
  7. There are over 100 cultivars or varieties of poinsettias.
  8. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous.
  9. A German immigrant named Eckes living in Los Angeles started selling poinsettias in the early 1900’s. His son developed a method of reproducing them and for years the Eckes were the sole source of poinsettias in the US.
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