Monday, December 14, 2015

The Poinsettia - A Bit of Holiday History

When we see those big, bright red blossoms, we can't help but think of Christmas!  But how did these Mexico-native plants that grow larger-than-life end up in cute little pots in our homes in Wisconsin?  Let's step back in time, all the way back to 1828, when Joel Roberts Poinsett brought the first Cuetlaxochitl plant from Mexico to the U.S. for propagation.

Poinsett was the son of a French physician and an avid botanist.  He was appointed as the first Ambassador to Mexico from the United States by President Madison. While visiting Mexico in 1828, he was amazed by these bright blooms and immediately shipped plants to his South Carolina greenhouses.   There, he grew small versions on the large tree-like plants, and gave them to family, friends, and botanical gardens.

The Cuetlaxochitl plant blooms in the winter months in Mexico, when it cools down, which coincides with the Christian holiday of Christmas.  With it's large vibrant blossoms and blooming season, the Cuetlaxochitl plant, now widely known as the Poinsettia, named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, has become the official plant of the Christmas season, and an important botanical crop, creating more than $250,000,000 in annual wholesale revenue for the industry.   The poinsettias we carry at Bank of Memories & Flowers are grown right here in the Milwaukee suburbs in greenhouses!

Today, December 12th is celebrated as National Poinsettia Day, marking the anniversary of Poinsett's passing.  We continue what Poinsett started so many years ago, giving the gift of an amazing plant as a way to spread joy and cheer throughout the season!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Wendy Kaye Walker
Floral Designer
Bank of Memories & Flowers

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