Flower Friday: Poinsettia

“Poinsettias are native to Mexico. They were cultivated by the Aztec Indians. The colorful bracts were used to make a reddish purple dye. The Aztecs also made a fever medicine from the poinsettia’s milky sap. After the Spanish conquest and the introduction of Christianity, poinsettias began to be used in Christian rituals. Franciscan priests used the poinsettia in their nativity processions. Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States by Joel Robert Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett had plants sent to his home in South Carolina. He then distributed plants to horticultural friends and botanical gardens. The Ecke family of California has been instrumental in the development of today’s poinsettia. Initially poinsettias lasted only a few days in the home. All had red bracts. Today’s varieties are more compact, durable, and long-lasting. Red, pink, white, gold, marbled, and variegated varieties are now available.” [Source]

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