Thursday, Jan 18th 2018

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Poinsettias: The holiday Flower

How the Poinsettias became the flower of the holiday season


With the holidays upon us many people are starting to see the Poinsettia adorn the houses and stores of their communities. And where the flower does have a nice appearance, one may wonder as to how the Poinsettia became known as the holiday flower. There are two stories which are commonly associated with the poinsettia. One is historical and the other is legend.


Joel Roberts Poinsett

When looking at how the Poinsettia came to America, Joel Roberts Poinsett shows us that you can find the most extraordinary plants just from taking a stroll. In the 1820s this Ambassador was walking along a trail in Mexico and saw a red shrub. Being as botany was a hobby he took a sample of the plant back to the United States. After introducing the plant to South Carolina, the plant started to grow in its popularity although they were not sold commercially until the later part of the 1800s under the name Poinsettia. Prior to that, the plant was known as Euphorbia Pulcherrima which means the most beautiful Euphorbia. I think we can all agree that the later name is less of a mouthful.

Maria and Pablo

The legend of the Poinsettia is well known in Mexico and has integrated itself into our holiday culture. Of course, the names and the embellishments on the tale vary depending on who is telling the tale, but the main story remains. According to the legend, Maria and Pablo were brother and sister. They were very poor and looked forward to the Christmas festival every year, specifically the ceremony where presents were presented to the baby Jesus in a manager scene at their church. Being that they were poor they did not have money to buy presents. As the story goes, the two decided to make the best with what they could find and so they picked weeds along the side of the road to make a bouquet. When they arrived at the church they placed the weeds in the manger and immediately there was a transformation. Miraculously, the entire area was filled with the red flowers we know today and forever became known as the holiday flower. Other stories associate the shape of the flower with the star above the manager.

As a children’s story, the Maria and Pablo legend not only presents the flower’s origins but also conveys that the holiday season is about giving and love, not just about what can be gained. It is a story that relates to all audiences as it shows that even the poorest person has something to offer during the holiday season. In addition to its aesthetics, the poinsettia has therefore become a means of relating this holiday message to younger audiences.

Modern Associations

Where the story of the Poinsettia may have caused some of the popularity of the flower, today it is seen as the iconic flower for the holidays due to the colors and large leaves which it produces. The red and green are standard colors for the holiday season, and the poinsettia offers these two colors in a non-extravagant way meaning that there is not a large silky lower or a high aromatic scent from the plant. This makes the poinsettia a logical choice for businesses and diversified venues. Additionally, the plant is seen as being a gender neutral plant. The colors are not too light in hue to divert the masculine crowd but there is enough diversity and vibrancy in the plant to attract the more feminine consumer. Couple this with the diversity in your planting options (that being that you can have the poinsettia planted outside or inside), the low maintenance of the plant, and the abundance of the flower, and you have an iconic holiday plant. Because the flower is in the category of being a shrub, it is more durable than most flowers. This has also added to the popularity as both families and business can have the plant displayed without worrying about wilting, leaves tearing, and other common problems that some indoor plants poses.

Regardless of this version of the story and history you wish to hold to, the poinsettia has become an icon of American Culture during the holiday season.

Prepare for the Holidays with a Poinsettia from Trax Farms

If you have not begun decorating for the holiday season, or if you are looking for some poinsettias to accent your existing holiday decorum, Trax Farms would love to help. We have a large selection of Poinsettias and holiday plants which is sure to add that special touch this season. Should you need help in deciding which plants are appropriate for your holiday decorations please ask us. We have been farming for over 150 years and can help you determine the best options for your space. 

If you need directions or if you have any questions about the plants we offer, please feel free to contact us directly at 412.835.3246 or come by for a visit.  We are located just south of Pittsburg in Finleyville, PA. 


Contact Trax Farms

Monday - Saturday: 9 am - 8 pm

Sunday: 9 am- 6 pm

528 Trax Rd. Finleyville, PA 15332
(12 miles south of Pittsburgh on Route 88)
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Phone  412.835.3246


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