1. Poinsettias are native to Mexico.
|A wild type poinsettia|
It may be hard to picture them in the hot, dry, snow-less setting of South America, but Poinsettias were cultivated in Mexico.
2. They have no flowers.
If you look closely at a Poinsettia's foliage, you may notice that the red 'petals' of the plant are actually just leaves! This happens when the plant receives at least five consecutive nights with 12 hours of darkness, as well as lots of daytime sun.
3. They have a long history.
Poinsettias were used as far back as the time of the Aztecs, where they were used to create red dye as well as a fever-reducing drug. In the early 1900's, a man named Albert Ecke developed growing techniques that allowed the plants to thrive. By the late 1990's Albert's family had created an empire around the Poinsettia, and its' popularity had spread to America.
4. There are several varieties.
We may think of the classic red leaves when we think about poinsettias, but several varieties have been bred, from a light pink to white to a variegated 'Jingle Bells' variety.
|A Jingle Bells plant|
5. They aren't as toxic as you've heard.
Claims of Poinsettias being highly toxic have spread over the years, but in actuality they cause very little damage if ingested. Still, care should be taken so pets or small children don't accidentally eat any part of the plant.