When we think about Christmas, poinsettias are one of the first plants that come to mind. Not only are they gorgeous and bright, but they also have a long history of being associated with the holidays. Of course, there are a number of misconceptions as far as this plant is concerned as well as several facts that many people do not know. Here are some interesting facts about one of the most popular Christmas plants.
Poinsettias are not toxic
Many people believe that these plants are poisonous but this is not entirely true. The plant has a milky sap which can irritate the skin. If you have a latex allergy, you should avoid coming into contact with this sap due to the reaction it will create on your skin. While they can irritate the skin and cause a bit of an upset stomach if ingested, they are not poisonous. So, if your pet or child does manage to get their hands on this plant, there is usually nothing to worry about.
A popular Christmas tradition
Today, we automatically associate poinsettias with Christmas but have you ever stopped to wonder why? There are a number of myths and legends associated with this plant. One of which is a Mexican legend that tells of a young girl who wanted to present Jesus with a birthday gift but she had no money. An angel told her that it was the thought that counts which led the girl to pick some weeds. The angel then turned these weeds into gorgeous blooms – poinsettias – and now they are the symbol of the blood of Christ and His purity.
Just like many other plants out there, poinsettias have a few interesting nicknames. In Mexico, they are called ‘la flor de la nochebuena’ which means ‘flower of the holy night’. In Peru and Chile, the locals call it ‘the crown of the Andes’. In America, many people refer to them as flame-leaf or lobster flowers because of the colour of the red variety.
Popular festive gifts
While many people like to buy poinsettias for their own home, they also see these plants as excellent holiday gifts. If you are planning on visiting somebody over the holidays and you don’t have any idea what you can take along as a gift, these plants are always welcome.
It is also important to note that poinsettias do not usually last more than one season. Which means that they will look amazing throughout the holidays but they will eventually perish in the spring. With a lot of effort, they can be encouraged to live on throughout the summer and you could enjoy them for just over a year but many people feel that it’s easier to replace the plant each year.