This Christmas 2011, inquiring minds want to know: How did the Poinsettia get its name?
The bright red leaf plant is one of the most popular during the holidays. The Poinsettia is also known as the Christmas Star and Mexican Flame Leaf.
In Mexico, it's called nochebuena, or night good.
The Poinsettia was used in the pre-Hisapanic era as medicine. The red leaves were also used to make red dye. The Poinsettia got its name from the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett. He found the plant in Mexico and introduced it to the United States in 1825.
So before that, it wasn't a popular Christmas plant in the U.S. at all. But, after Poinsett introduced the plant to the U.S., it slowly gained popularity and took the name of the ambassador, becoming known as the poinsettia.
The poinsettia is believed to be toxic if eaten by many, but that has been proven false. And, while the plant is popular around Christmas, it is a perennial that flourishes throughout the year - though it does best in cool temperatures of 65-70 in the day and 55-60 degrees at night.