The Legend of the Poinsettia

A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was filled with sadness rather than joy.

“I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,” said Pedro consolingly.

Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.

As she approached the altar, she remembered Pedro’s kind words: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes.

From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season.

Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!

Poinsettia Facts

  • Poinsettias are native to Mexico.
  • In nature, poinsettias are perennial flowering shrubs that can grow to ten feet tall.
  • The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think are the flowers are actually colored bracts (modified leaves).
  • Poinsettias are priced according to the number of blooms. The more blooms, the more expensive the plant.
  • A fresh poinsettia is one on which little or no yellow pollen is showing on the flower clusters in the center of the bracts. Plants that have shed their pollen will soon drop their colorful bracts.
  • Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.
  • December 12 is National Poinsettia Day.
  • There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available.
  • $220 million worth of poinsettias are sold during the holiday season.
  • Poinsettias are the most popular Christmas plant even though most are sold in a 6 week period.
  • An NCCA Bowl game in San Diego is named the Poinsettia Bowl
  • Poinsettias were introduced into the United States in 1825 by Joel Poinsett.

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