Poinsettias were used by the Aztecs to produce purple dye and early cosmetics. The white milky sap was uses as medicines to treat fevers. Today we call that sap latex!
The first introduction of these beautiful flowers north of the Mexican border was by Joel Roberts Poinsett who was the first ambassador to Mexico. He was fascinated by these plants with their green leaves that turned brilliant red a few days before Christmas just in time for the celebration. Later, it was discovered that the process had to do with light or the absence there of.
He noticed many symbols of Christ, the star shape, and the color of blood that perfectly fit into this holiday as foreshadowing of Easter. Samples were sent to greenhouses in South Carolina for research to see if they would grow in the United States.
That was the beginning of United States’ love affair with this most recognizable Christmas flower. This year over 34, 000,000 were bought to decorate our houses, churches, and work places.
Thanks Mexico for this wonderful flower!
images from google images. . . . . . . public domain
text from Wikipedia