Christmas = Poinsettias. Everywhere. Love them or loathe them, they’re more popular than ever.
Here are a few of our favourite Poinsettia facts to get you through the winter.
1. Poinsettias are native to Mexico, where they grow as perennial shrubs.
2. They were first brought into the US in 1828 before making their way over to the UK from there.
3. The common name ‘Poinsettia’ comes from the man who first brought it into the US – Joel Roberts Poinsett.
4. The Poinsettia is actually a member of the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae) which includes everything from succulents and herbaceous perennials to common garden weeds.
5. The botanical species name, Euphorbia pulcherrima means ‘most beautiful’ in Latin.
6. The milky sap is often thought to be poisonous, but it's actually more of an irritant. Poinsettias are best kept out of reach of children and animals.
7. The Poinsettia has some spectacular common names around the world, including Flower of the Holy Night (Guatemala), Crown of the Andes (Chile) and Flor de Pasqua in Spain (due to its association with Easter).
8. The Poinsettia is one of the few common plant names that is capitalised. This is usually reserved for botanical genus names, but it holds in this case because the Poinsettia is named after a person.
9. The large red flowers are actually modified leaves called bracts. You might notice small yellow cyathia inside. These are the true flowers.
10. Poinsettias need surprisingly precise preparation to get them flowering in time for Christmas.
11. As if being a beloved symbol of Christmas and Easter wasn't enough, you can celebrate National Poinsettia Day on December 12th!
12. Despite their popularity, Poinsettias aren't the easiest plants to keep alive. Always buy them from a heated venue – no outdoor flower stalls or draughty florist doorways. Keep them warm (never below 55F/13°C) but away from central heating sources. Your Poinsettias will also need plenty of light and they really don't like being overwatered.