Thursday, December 12, 2013

Happy National Poinsettia Day!

What? You didn't know there was a National Poinsettia Day? Yep. December 12th of every year. This date was chosen because it marks the anniversary of the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, an American botanist who discovered the plant in Mexico in 1828 and sent back cuttings to the US for propagation.

Poinsettia Day was declared in 2002 to honor Paul Ecke Jr, who is considered the father of the modern poinsettia industry.

And quite an industry it is! The growing of poinsettias adds more than $250,000,000 (at the wholesale level, mind you!) to the US economy every year.

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not poisonous. No deaths due to eating poinsettia leaves have ever been recorded. That said, eating the flowers (which are the tiny yellow centers of the plant) or the colorful leaves might cause nausea and vomiting, and contact with the milky white sap within the stems could cause skin irritation to those sensitive to it. For this reason they should be kept out of reach of pets and small children.

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