LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25: Poinsettias are displayed during Christmas mass at The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Services and celebrations marked the holiday throughout the world Saturday. (Photo by Eric Thayer/Getty Images)

I LOVE Poinsettias. After consulting Siri, by the way, the correct pronounciation is “Poin-setta”.

My grandmother loved them and I always remember her having them around at Christmastime. Every year, my parents would buy them and now my wife and I do, too!

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Where did poinsettias originate?

The red and white flowers, called “Taxco del Alarcon”‘ are winter blooming and native to Central America and southern Mexico. Joel Robert Poinsett was the US Ambassador to Mexico in 1825. Pointsett discovered the plants while visiting¬† Mexico. He loved the red and white plants and sent them back to his plantation greenhouses in South Carolina.¬† He grew them and gave them to friends and other botanists. Americans began calling them pointsettia after Ambassador Pointsett. One friend in particular began selling them as cut flowers. A family in California began selling them as whole plants in the 1920’s.

How did the poinsettia become associated with Christmas? 

Mexican legend has it that a poor little girl had nothing to donate to the Baby Jesus at Christmas Eve services. She was told any gift at all would be appreciated, so she brought a bouquet of pointsettias.

Enjoy their beauty this holiday season and if anyone asks about their origin, you’ll know!:):)

Warning for pets: According to the website www.petpoisonhelpline.com, poinsettias are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs. The milky liquid have chemicals that can irritate eyes and skin, although vomiting, drooling and diarrhea can occur. Rarely does your pet’s reaction require medical care. Severe reactions may, however, require a visit to the vet.

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