BILLINGS, MT (December 23, 2016) – The plant we know today as the poinsettia has long and interesting history. Native to Central America, the plant flourished in an area of Southern Mexico known as Taxco del Alarcon.
The poinsettia may have remained a regional plant for many years to come had it not been for the efforts of Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851). The son of a French physician, Poinsett was appointed as the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825-1829) by President Madison. Poinsett had attended medical school himself, but his real love in the scientific field was botany.
Poinsett maintained his own hothouses on his Greenville, South Carolina plantations, and while visiting the Taxco area in 1828, he became enchanted by the brilliant red blooms he saw there. He immediately sent some of the plants back to South Carolina, where he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens.
Congress honored Joel Poinsett by declaring December 12th as National Poinsettia Day which commemorates the date of his death in 1851. The day was meant to honor Poinsett and encourage people to enjoy the beauty of the popular holiday plant.
This year the Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz visited a local flower and garden center to learn more about this popular holiday plant.
Source: Russell Nemetz-Northern Ag Network