Did you know that Poinsettia's didn't arrive in the United States until the 19th century? The plant is named after the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced it to America in 1828. It was he who discovered it in the wilderness of southern Mexico. Cuttings were sent back to his home in South Carolina and although it wasn't initially embraced, it caught on over the years, and by the 20th century it was a holiday mainstay. National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on Dec. 12, honoring both the plant and the man.
So, you know you will be asking what does a poinsettia have to do with Christmas? One interpretation of the plant is as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, the heavenly body that led the three wise men to the place where Christ was born. A Mexican legend also tells of a girl who could only offer weeds as a gift to Jesus on Christmas Eve. When she brought the weeds into a church, they blossomed into the beautiful red plants we know as poinsettias, Flores de Noche Buena in Mexico - Spanish for ‘flowers of the holy night’.
In the language of flowers, they represent good cheer, success and prosperity.