The Poinsettia is native to Mexico where there is a legend that dates back to Christmas eve several centuries ago. In the legend, a girl named Pepita had no gift to offer for the Christmas services. Her cousin Pedro urged her to give a humble gift. On her way to church, Pepita gathered weeds. As she approached the altar, a miracle occurred: thee weeds blossomed into brilliant flowers. They were called Flores de Noche Buena, or “Flowers of the Holy Night” – now referred to as poinsettias.
Joel Robert Poinsett, an amateur botanist and the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, is credited with bringing the poinsettias to the U.S. in 1825. December 12th is considered National Poinsettia Day – a day to enjoy this symbol of holiday cheer.
Poinsettia Care Tips:
Poinsettias are one of the longest-lasting blooming plants available. To choose the perfect poinsettia and keep it blooming, follow these care tips:
- Pick a plant with small, tightly clustered buds in the center.
- Look for crisp, bright, undamaged foliage.
- When the surface soil is dry to the touch, water thoroughly. Discard excess water in the saucer.
- To prolong color, keep a temperature range of 60 degrees for night and 72 degrees for day. High humidity is pereferable.
- Place plant away from hot or cold drafts, and protect from cold winds.
The Poinsettia is NOT Poisonous:
The poinsettia is the most widely tested consumer plant on the market today, proving the myth about the popular holiday plant to be false:
- Scientific research from the Ohio State University has proven the poinsettia to be non-toxic. Alll parts of the plant were tested, including the leaves and sap.
- According to POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control centers, a child would have to ingest 500-600 leaves in order to exceed the experimental doses that found now toxicity.
- As with any non-food product, the poinsettia is not meant to be eaten and can cause varying degrees of discomfort. Therefore, the plant should be kept out of the reach of young children and curious pets.
Poinsettia and Latex Allergies:
Concerns of latex issues are unfounded. According to the American Latex Allergy Association, only about 1 percent to 6 percent of the general population is allergic to latex, and ” one would have to have significant contact with the poinsettia plant’s latex directly to have an allergic reaction…. only a small drop of latex that can be immediately wiped off the skin is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.”