Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Flowers: Poinsettia

Poinsettia mother's garden in Mexico

Today's Friday Flower is not a flower at all but a plant which has top leaves that develop a bright colour. It is strongly associated with the Christmas season in our culture.

Poinsettias are native to the Pacific coast of Mexico. They are named after the first American ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, who introduced the plant in the U.S. in 1825. They are also known as the Mexican flame leaf, Christmas star, Winter rose, or Noche Buena. Poinsettias are shrubs that reach a height up to 4 m or 16 ft. The top leaves or bracts are flaming red, pink, or white and are often mistaken as flowers. The actual flowers are grouped within the small yellow structures found in the center of each leaf bunch.

The poinsettias in my family's garden in Mexico are large and beautiful and the large shrubs are a far cry from the little potted plants in our grocery stores. Here is the Mexican legend of the Christmas poinsettia...

The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor but always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing. One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service. On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course they were teased by other children when they arrived with their gift, but they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today. (source)

Marbled Pink Poinsettia Cultivar in my house

The Christmas season is fast approaching. I have family from Mexico who are coming to Canada for the next two weeks (starting this weekend!). Writing and reading blog posts will have to take a back burner until after the New Year, but I hope to visit some of my favourite bloggers from time to time.


  1. Enjoy your family time over Christmas and New Years. I hope it's a holy and wonderful time!

  2. I love these stories. Have a great visit with your family. We'll miss you, though - and Merry Christmas!

  3. Enjoy your time with family.
    I think many of us will cut back around this time of year. There are other things to enjoy.
    See you in the new year.

  4. Enjoy your family! Here's how I cheated! I took my winter weeds post and broke it up into several posts. Wordpress allows you to put a time stamp in the future... so they will automatically post themselves over the next few days... (I didn't write much for any of them, either... But at least something shows up!) Now all I have to do is read others' blogs in the morning before my family wakes up... Then: let the frenzy begin! Today we decorate the tree!

  5. Ruth, here's hoping you and your family have a wonderful time together! A very Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  6. Lynne- Thanks. This Christmas will be different for you, but I hope you feel the peace and comfort of the season.

    Jean- I may appear randomly on this page and on yours. Merry Christmas to you and your family too.

    Donna- Hope you have a wonderful trip. The New Year will provide lots of time for "catch-up".

    Jennifer- When I read your posts I miss my daily walks outdoors. We have had freezing rain this week and walking is treacherous! Hopefully the promised snow this weekend will cover it safely. I have a few posts written ahead too. You are an early riser for sure!
    Merry Christmas and happy decorating.

  7. Jayne- And a Merry Christmas season to you little Elves ! ;-)

  8. I would love seeing large poinsettias ! I hope you enjoy your holidays.
    And tag, you're it!

  9. Beautiful Poinsettia pictures Ruth. I hope you have a wonderful time with your family, and your Mexico family enjoys the "white Christmas."

  10. I never knew of that legend so thanks for enlightening me!I did know that they are supposedly poisonous but I have no plans to eat any.

  11. love your Friday Poinsettia flowers! I use to have them at work but ended up dying since I couldn't bring them home (cats)!

  12. That's wonderful, Ruth! Enjoy time with family and don't worry about the blog.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!


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