With a bright red, showy display that blooms every December, it’s no wonder poinsettias are used to spread cheer during the holiday season!
Interestingly enough, what most people believe to be the plant’s flowers are actually red-colored bracts or modified leaves; the actual flowers are the tiny yellow buds resembling stamens.
If you don’t have enough to celebrate already in December, add this to your calendars: International Poinsettia Day is December 12th.
Native to Mexico and commonly referred to as the “Flower of the Holy Night,” the poinsettia has been used to decorate churches there for many centuries. Its sap was also historically used by the Aztecs for medicinal purposes, such as controlling fevers.
Poinsettias are some of the most popular potted plants out there; In 2014, more than 8 million of them were sold in the UK in just two months!
In the US, the 2013 USDA Floriculture Statistics report shows that over 34 million of them are sold every year. California is the highest-producing state, with over 6 million pots grown a year. North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Ohio round out the top five.
Although traditionally red, there are more than 100 varieties of poinsettias available today that range in color from white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.
Despite its reputation for being poisonous, it isn’t. It can, however, upset the stomachs of the pets or children who eat them, so be sure to keep them in a safe spot.