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Poinsettia

Poinsettia -traditional Christmas flowers.

The poinsettia is named after Joel R. Poinsett, who served as the USA’s first ambassador to Mexico, from 1825 to 1829.  During that time he came to admire a beautiful indigenous plant with large scarlet leaves encircling small, greenish-yellow blossoms, which the Mexicans had adopted as their Christmas flower.  He liked it so much that he sent specimens back to the USA, where they soon flourished.


A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia became a Christmas flower.  A poor peasant girl was anxious to bring a gift in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Christmas Eve service.  She had nothing of value, though, so she went empty-handed.  On her way to church she met an angel, who told her to pick some weeds.  She did so and with a heavy heart and a feeling of shame, place them on the altar.  Miraculously, they were transformed into the bright scarlet flowers.  



Ever since, poinsettias have been popular decorations for churches ad homes during the Christmas festival.

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