The Christmas Flower

December 7, 2018
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The Christmas Flower

For 100 years, the Poinsettia reigns as America’s
holiday flower.

Why we should thank Mexico for the tradition (& know it’s *not* poisonous).

Feliz NAVIDAD!

HISTORY

Native to Central America, itA grows as a tree. In the 14th century, Aztecs used it asA dye & the white sap to treat fevers.

Introduced to America in the 1820s by – and named for – the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico & botanistA Joel Roberts Poinsett. He also cultivated it into the smaller plant we know now.

POISONOUS LEAVES?

  • Not true. Poison Control has debunked the often-quoted myth that Poinsettias’ sap can be dangerous to small kids & dogs.
  • While irritating, a study found a 50-pound child would have to eat 500 leaves for a harmful effect.
  • Researchers say the taste would be awful, but advise keeping it away from pets because it may cause vomiting & diarrhea.

HOW DO YOU SAY IT?

Poin-set-ah?
Poin-set-ee-ah?

The dictionary says both are technically correct.

But since it was named after a person, Poinsett, English scholars believe the added “ia” should be pronounced (Poin-set-ee-ah) & it should always be capitalized.

Blooming only once around Christmas, the Poinsettia is America’s 2nd most popular potted flowering plant, behind orchids. The $200M market includes 150 kinds, but red is the most popular. One California ranch sells over 70% of all U.S. Poinsettias. Read more here.

by Jenna Lee,

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