History of the Poinsettia

Signs of the Season

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE poinsettias and that fondness goes back quite a few years…. a favorite of mine since my childhood!
Our church always decorated the sanctuary with lots and lots of these beautiful red blooms – a favorite memory that is repeated again and again every Christmas season.  And my mom always used them in our home for her Christmas decorating as well….a tradition that I continue.  I love using all of the colors, although I have to admit that the red is still my favorite!
Do you enjoy these beautiful blooms in your home?
In 1825, Mexican Ambassador and Charleston, South Carolina native, Joel Roberts Poinsett found a pulchritudinous red flowering plant while wandering on a mountain trail in rural Mexico.  He was so taken with the flower that he collected a few specimens to take home to his Charleston greenhouse.  In 1832, Dr. Poinsett began to successfully propagate the plant species in America.  The Poinsettia became synonymous with Christmas and it is now known as the Flor de Noche Buena” or “Flower of the Beautiful Night (Christmas Eve).”  Robert Buist, a famed Scottish gardener and taxonomist named the plant after learning about it from Dr. Poinsett in the mid 1830’s.    (taken from Charleston Visitor Bureau info)
Paul Ecke and the Ecke family introduced this country to this Holiday tradition in the 1920’s when he planted fields of poinsettias in the California country side and started a business that centered around this beautiful flower.  Over the years, and through several of the Ecke generations, the poinsettia has become synonymous with Christmas, and with improving industrial and horticulture improvements, they were able to ship more and more poinsettias across country and internationally for us all to enjoy.  They gained a lot of notoriety for the poinsettia and interest through the television sets of The Tonight Show and Bob Hope’s Christmas Specials.  The audience was made aware of this beautiful specimen and discovered the Holiday tradition….. the rest is history.

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Pictures from PaulEckePoinsettias.com and Wikipedia Poinsettia Images

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