Poinsettia: The Christmas Flower

Poinsettia with Christmas lights

2 min read

For some reason, Christmas isn’t always imagined as a time for flowers. Due to the December cold, many flowers don’t bloom outside and we tend to put more focus on winter foliage like pine, mistletoe and holly. However, there’s one big exception when it comes to Christmas flowers in the shape of the humble poinsettia.

Now in terms of definition, we are cheating a little as the poinsettia is not really a flower, but is instead a red-topped plant. However, it still manages to stand tall as a favourite of flower lovers and is often given as a gift like a bouquet at this time of year. It is also a firm part of many Christmas decoration traditions due to its almost floral star-like foliage.

A few facts about Poinsettia you should know:

poinsettia in pot with wooden background

  • Poinsettia is named after the botanist Joel Roberts Poinsett a botanist who introduced the plant into the USA.
  • The plant traditionally blooms late into the year between October and early December. Making it the perfect seasonal “flower” for this time of year.
  • The plant comes from Central American countries originally, such as Mexico and Guatemala.
  • The plant was considered sacred to the Aztec people, who viewed it as a symbol of purity and used it to make dyes and natural medicine.
  • The plant in its native lands can grow to nearly 15ft tall.
  • It symbolises joy, love, purity and hope amongst other things.

Where does the tradition of Poinsettia as the Christmas flower come from?

poinsettia with traditional winter gifts and ornaments

The Christmas tradition of poinsettias is inspired by Mexican folktale about a poor little girl called Pepita who had no present for the baby Jesus at a Christmas Eve service. Her cousin Pedro trying to cheer her up by suggested that even the smallest gift would be enough, so Pepita picked up some weeds growing near the church. When she stepped up to the altar and placed the arrangement they suddenly transformed into the bright red flowers we know today. For this reason, in Spanish speaking countries, Poinsettia is known as “Flores de Noche Buena” or Flowers of the holy night.

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Symbolically the star shape of the flowers is also considered to be similar to the star that led the wise men to Jesus, which is why many people make it part of their Christmas decorations. Or in a slightly more gruesome interpretation, the red leaves could be a symbol of the blood of Christ.

A poinsettia can say a lot to someone during the holiday season or add much to your Christmas decor if you keep one in your own home. It definitely deserves its place as one of the best flowers for Christmas.

Make Christmas extra special this year by sharing a fine poinsettia with your loved ones. FloraQueen’s international delivery service to over 100 countries makes it easy to send your flowers to friends and family all around the world. All it takes is a few clicks.

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