Could you explain how the poinsettia became the most popular Christmas flower?
The natural color of poinsettias is a bright red color. Together with green leaves it becomes the perfect combination for Christmas.
The poinsettia is named after the man who first brought the plant to the United States. Joel Roberts Poinsett was appointed by President John Quincy Adams as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico in the 1820s. Because of his interest in botany he wandered the countryside looking for new plant species. In 1828 he found a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. In Mexico the poinsettia is a perennial shrub that grows up to 10 feet tall. He took cuttings from the plant and brought them back to his greenhouse in South Carolina.
The botanical name, Euphorbia pulcherrima was assigned to the poinsettia by the German botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow. He was dazzled by its flower color and assigned the name pulcherrima which means “very beautiful.”
John Bartram, a nurseryman from Pennsylvania was the first to sell potted plants under its scientific name.
After the plant became popular in the United States, William Prescott, a historian and horticulturist, named the poinsettia after Joel Roberts Poinsett.