Dec 20 2017

The History of the Poinsettia

The poinsettia plant is a plant that originated in Central America and flourished in South Mexico. The natives to Central America used the plant for practical use by extracting a purple dye and using it for textiles and cosmetics. The plant would’ve remained in its original area if it weren’t for Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851), who was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett had his own gardens in his plantations in South Carolina but while visiting Mexico he became fascinated with the beautiful red blooms he saw. He sent some back to South Carolina where he sent them to friends and botanical gardens.

One of the friends Poinsett sent the plant to was John Bartam who gave it to his friend, Robert Buist, and he was the first man to sell the plant under its botanical name, Euphorbia Pulcherrima. It became popular under the name of poinsettia around 1836, the name was made up after the man who first brought it to the United States.

The flowers are now known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy night, because they bloom each year during the Christmas season.