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Poinsettias for the Holidays

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When Joel Roberto Poinsett (1770-1851), the US ambassador to Mexico, saw the flower adorning churches in Taxco in 1823, he sent some plants home to decorate his mansion in South Carolina for Christmas. Poinsett began propagating the plant—and, in the course of time, ‘poinsettia’ have become the symbol of Christmas throughout the world.

The flame-red parts, often called flowers, are actually leaves, which botanists call bracts. Poinsettias come in numerous shades of reds, whites, and pinks. The true flowers are small, green and yellow and inconspicuous.

Birgit Reinert

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