Thursday, December 02, 2010

POINSETTIA 'NOCHE BUENA' ~ THE CHRISTMAS STAR

"Flowers seem intended for a solace of ordinary humanity."

~ John Ruskin



Poinsettia


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The first december birth flower is the Poinsettia which equals celebration, success, reassurance, and good cheer.


Also known as the Mexican flame leaf or Christmas star or Noche Buena , the poinsettia, is a plant known for its striking red displays at Christmas time. It is often used as a floral Christmas decoration because of its festive colors. Poinsettias are native to southern Mexico and Central America, where they may reach heights of sixteen feet. They are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States ambassador to Mexico, who introduced the plant in the U.S. in 1825.


A Mexican legend explains how poinsettias came to be associated with Christmas. Apparently, a child who could not afford a gift to offer to Christ on Christmas Eve picked some weeds from the side of a road. The child was told that a humble gift, if given in love, would be acceptable in God's eyes. When brought into the church, the weeds bloomed into red and green flowers and the congregation felt they had witnessed a Christmas miracle.


The Aztec Indians prized poinsettias and considered them a symbol of purity because of their brilliant red color. They made a reddish-purple dye from the colored "flowers", which are actually modified leaves called bracts. They also made a medicine against fevers from the latex sap of the plant.The "birth flowers" are actually large bunches of colored leaves; the flowers themselves are in the center of each leaf bunch, but rather small and inconspicuous.




25 comments:

Lindalou said...

Great story and lovely photos. So festive.

joey said...

Thanks, Lindalou. (An English Gardens stunning poinsettia with a 1/2 off coupon :)

Carol said...

Beautiful photos Joey and thank you for the refresher course in the history of poinsettias.

Kala said...

Gorgeous collage of the poinsettias Joey!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Joey, each year I say I am not going to buy more than one poinsettia, but yesterday I bought a few more. Home Depot had just gotten a shipment and I couldn't resist the prices.

Eileen

Marysol said...

Yet another reason, Red, is my favorite color.

That is truly an extraordinary plant—and so is everything your artistic eye captures!

TYRA said...

Lovely picture Joey and a great story to go with it. Just the way I like it ;-)

Tyra

joey said...

Thanks, Carol. Poinsettias are a must for me during the holidays!

Shot on my sunporch, Kala, and had an impossible time capturing the deep cranberry red. Any ideas?

You have a beautiful variety of holiday blooms, Eileen, and loved your variegated poinsettia. (I'm on a mission to find one ... hum ... Costco you said!)

Marysol, you are so sweet! Thank you. Actually, this is a DEEP cranberry color, hard to photograph, but my favorite color poinsettia for my home. I am not surprised fiery you loves RED! I do too :)

Thank you, dear Tyra. Happy December :)

WhatKarenSees said...

So beautiful. Love your collage! Poinsettias are just so festive. I'm used to seeing small potted ones that appear in the stores around Christmas time, but last November we were in Costa Rica and we saw huge bushes 10 feet tall covered with blooms. They were magnificent. Hmmm, I'll have to go back to my trip photos and post a picture of them during the holidays. In the meantime, I did post a photo of a small one today, but with a creative treatment. Have a wonderful weekend Joey!

Nutty Gnome said...

Gorgeous - I love the strength of colour of poinsettias and your colllage is divine!
Have a great weekend :)

Carolyn @ Carolyn's Shade Gardens said...

I have always loved poinsettas at Christmas. Lately the offerings have become more varied as well as less expensive. It was great to learn all the background on this plant especially the origin of its name. Carolyn

Edith Hope said...

Dearest Joey, Every year I resolve to not give houseroom to another Poinsettia. The rapidity of their death with me is both costly and unattractive. However, I have relented and the merry Poinsettia trail has already begun.....several dead already, some sickly and the newly purchased pretty as a picture. Why can one never resist? And, why dearest Joey do mine never look as glamorous as yours?

perennialgardener said...

What an interesting story to go along with your gorgeous photos. :)

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

I always to keep a Poinsettia in the house this time of year, but our cat has a penchant for nibbling on the leaves. They are beautiful though, I just wish they weren't so short lived.

Jennifer@threedogsinagarden said...

Great post. I am not a fan of poinsettia, but I do like the opening shot especially. It was also interesting to read some background on this Christmas favorite.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Joey! What a beautiful collage! You look as though you're ready for Christmas already!! I know I've asked you before, but how do you do this?

Could you share some info about your brother's book?? Blessings!

joey said...

I would love to be beside you back on that shoot in Costa Rica, Karen! BTW ~ loved your last creative post and solid advice for those of us still learning. Yes, happy weekend, dear friend :)

Nutty Liz, I adore you. Thank you, fun friend.

Welcome, Carolyn. So true ... I'm amazed at the many/awesome poinsettia offerings. I thoroughly enjoyed jumping over to visit your lovely site. Let's keep in touch :)

The fun thing about flowers is that one may not speak to all, Jennifer. And that's the glory! It would be a very boring world if we all felt the same.

Don't fret, dearest Edith. My Poinsettias are only glamourous because they are newbies. Treating poinsettias like a bouquet of fresh flowers, from November through December I pitch and toss. I have no time/room to hold them over. They are a seasonal gift :)

Thank you, PG~ R. Happy December :)

Ouch for the cat, Clare! Once January comes, on to other favorites ... my Poinsettias are only a fleeting memory :)

Thank you, Jennifer. Poinsettias are certainly stunning flowers to sustain us throughout the holidays.

Gail said...

Joey, That's a lovely story! I hadn't heard that one! We had them growing in our garden when I was living in Tampa (ten years)~Hoping your weekend is sweet and easy, xoxogail

Rose said...

I'm not sure I ever knew how the poinsettia came to be associated with Christmas--thanks for the interesting background, Joey. Your post looks so festive today; you've put me in the Christmas spirit!

kanak7 said...

Loved reading the story behind the Christmas flower, as it's referred to here. Again a most stunning collage! Your photos cheered me up!:)

joey said...

Thank you, Gail. I can imagine how lovely poinsettias would look in the garden! Wonderful weekend wishes to you also. Mine will be spent decorating!

Thanks, Rose. I'm finally getting into the Christmas spirit too and today will hopefully finish decoration inside. Can't believe it's 3 weeks away!

Hello, dear Kanak. Thank you and keep smiling :)

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

I love poinsettias. They are favorites around here,and I enjoy all of the new and different varieties. I think I'm going to buy one called Jingle Bells. I also love the legend of the gift for the Christ Child. We have a Tommy DePaola book of it.~~Dee

joey said...

Kindred 'soul sister', Dee, I love Tommy DePaola too and walk beside you in many shared loves/passions in life. Christmas blessings, dear friend.

Wendy said...

I love stories about the poinsettia. I just wish I could keep them alive!

joey said...

Hi Wendy. Frankly, I am tired of poinsettias after the holidays :)