December 21 – Poinsettia
Poinsettia’s association with Christmas began in the 1500′s in Mexico, where legend tells of a young girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’s birthday. The tale goes that the child was inspired by an angel to gather weeds growing by the road and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson “blossoms” sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 1600′s Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations.
Poinsettia’s star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem.
Poinsettia received its common name after Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico who introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.