Poinsettias have become one of the most recognized holiday plants. Native to Mexico, poinsettias are named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the states in 1825. Poinsett brought the vibrant red and green plant back to his South Carolina plantation - where he continued to cultivate them and give them as gifts to friends. The plant soon became a holiday fixture.
Many mistake the poinsettia's colored bracts for flower petals because of their bright hues and groupings - but they are in fact leaves! The bracts are traditionally red, but can be orange, pale green, cream, pink, white, or marbled. There are over 100 cultivated varieties of poinsettia.
Unfortunately this lovely houseplant has received a bad rep. Some are weary of the plant - claiming its poisonous. But that's about as true as Santa Claus…
The genus Euphoria to which the poinsettia plant belongs does contain some highly-toxic plants, but the popular poinsettia itself is not toxic. Like most houseplants, it isn't completely harmless - upon digestion, one may become nauseated or throw up - but it surely isn't life-threatening! For example - a 50 pound child would have to eat over 500 leaves to reach a potentially toxic dose! In addition, the leaves have a very unpleasant taste… making this highly unlikely.
We urge you to give the poinsettia a chance this holiday season! Stop by The Sill Shop at 84 Hester Street to pick up a poinsettia of your own and get expert times on how to care for them.