The Poinsettia is a popular holiday plant, native to Mexico. It is noted as having large, red star-shaped flowers. In Central America it is known as the Flame Leaf or Flower of the Holy Night.
Legend has it, Pepita, a poor Mexican girl with no gift to offer the Christ Child on Christmas Eve picked a bouquet of flowering weeds along the roadside. When she placed them at the foot of the nativity scene they burst into red blossoms. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night.
Poinsettia came to America in 1828 when the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, sent clippings of the plant back to his hothouses in South Carolina.
The red petals of the plant are often mistaken for flowers when in fact, they are bracts, or modified leaves.
Poinsettia are not poisonous as often believed. However, if you ate enough of them you would almost certainly end up with a stomach ache.
Poinsettias come in more colors and variations than the ever popular red. Other colors include, white, cream, yellow, pink and peach. Poinsettias can even come striped, marbled, or spotted with contrasting colors.