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Poinsettias Are a Beautiful Holiday Tradition

by Hannah Benson

Poinsettias are gorgeous red flowers, used as decoration in the holiday season, but there are so many facts that are unknown about these lovely flowers.

They can come in several colors, including red, pink, and white. Sophomore Morgan Carter commented, “[My favorite color poinsettia is] red, because they are traditional.”

Also, the flowers “petals” are actually technically leaves, known as “bracts.” [1] Poinsettias are popular during the holidays because they bloom during November and December, just in time for the holidays! [2]

They originate from Central America, but are commonly found in southern Mexico. The Aztecs referred to them as “cuetlaxochitl.” They also use the bracts to make purple dye, and makeup. The poinsettia’s white sap, called latex, is used in medicine. [3] This also brings up the warning, that if someone is allergic to latex, they do need to avoid contact with poinsettias. (Due to the fact that poinsettias do have latex in their sap.)

There is a legend in Mexico explaining how poinsettias came to be related to Christmas. A young girl named Pepita gathered a bouquet of weeds as a gift for the baby Jesus. At her church, Pepita placed the weekends on the altar. They magically changed into bright red flowers, the poinsettias we know and love today. [3]

Some find poinsettias very special for the holidays due to the flower’s symbolism. The shape of the flower can be seen as a symbol of the star that shone when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Also, the red poinsettias could symbolize the blood of Christ, and the white ones, Jesus’s purity. [3]

Also, poinsettias are an amazing gift to give during the holidays. For one, they are gorgeous flowers. But second, poinsettias are a long lasting, and durable plant. Some poinsettias can last for over a month. [4]

“Yes, I would love to get poinsettias as a gift! They last and I like the flowers; they are very heartfelt,” Carter exclaimed.

“I would love to get poinsettias as a Christmas gift. They’re festive, pretty, and not too hard to maintain,” sophomore Lea Roberts commented.

Freshman Lizzy Miller shared that other gifts may be more personal stating, “Obviously if you have been doing it for a while then keep doing it, but there is also this element that you could add by giving other things. But if it’s your tradition then keep doing it.”

In the end, poinsettias are beautiful and special flowers unique to the holidays.

 

Sources:

[1] http://extension.illinois.edu/poinsettia/facts.cfm

[2] https://www.todayshomeowner.com/how-to-grow-poinsettias-year-round/

[3] https://www.whychristmas.com/customs/poinsettia.shtml

[4] https://centervillegreenhouses.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Poinsettia-Care.pdf