Popular Holiday Plant Info: Fun Facts About Poinsettia

By Tonya Barnett | December 12, 2020
Image by serezniy
by Tonya Barnett
December 12, 2020

Each holiday season, gardeners and flower lovers alike begin the search for lively seasonal decor to brighten their decorations and tablescapes. Myself included. While those living in tropical climates may have access to fresh cut flowers and perennial plants locally, most of us are left to purchase plants and flower arrangements from florists or garden centers in winter.

The prominence of one such plant, the poinsettia, has caused it to become synonymous with the winter season. In fact, more poinsettias are sold in the United States every year than any other potted plant. Learning more fun facts about poinsettia flowers can help us better appreciate this magnificent plant, and understand why it is ever-popular when December arrives.

Interesting Poinsettia Facts

Introduced into the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett in the 1800s, it is only appropriate that they would also receive his namesake. At first glance, poinsettia plants may seem quite unassuming. But you probably didn’t know that there’s more to these popular red plants. In fact, over 100 unique cultivars of the plant are now in existence.

Those wishing to learn about poinsettias may be surprised to find that the potted specimens we are so familiar with are actually quite different when grown in their native range. Technically a perennial shrub, poinsettias in their native range can reach heights of 15 feet (4.5 m.) and are covered with vibrant color.

Most poinsettia plants boast colorful shades of white, pink, and red. Cultivars do vary widely, however, and may include varieties with marbled or variegated parts. Unlike many traditional flowers, the colorful portions of this plant are not actually flowers. It’s their unique leaves, called bracts, that create the illusion of bloom with variation in color. Actual, smaller yellowish flowers can be found in the center of these bracts.

Poinsettia plants are members of the Euphorbia plant family. Like many members of this family, poinsettia plants produce a white sap which may cause issues for sensitive individuals. People with latex allergies, for example, may be especially affected if touching the leaves of this plant. These plants should always be kept out of reach of children and safely away from pets.

So there you have it – some fun facts about poinsettias you may not have known. Now you’ll have just one more reason to love and appreciate this popular holiday plant. I know I do!

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