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National Poinsettia Day - 12th December
National Poinsettia Day is celebrated on 12th December every year. The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States in 1828. Poinsett was the first United States Ambassador to Mexico (1825 - 1829). Even though he had an outstanding career as a United States Congressman and as an ambassador he will always be remembered for introducing the poinsettia into the United States .The purpose of the day is to enjoy the beauty of this "very beautiful" popular plant.
The plant is brilliantly colorful red and green which bloomed during the Christmas season. The poinsettia a beautiful shrub with large red flowers is the most popular Christmas plant and has become a traditional symbol of Christmas.
The poinsettia, an Aztec reminder of human blood sacrifices, soon came to represent the blood of Christ to Catholics and Christians. Today, the Poinsettia is synonymous with Christmas.
The poinsettia’s botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima and it means “very beautiful." The flowers or cyathia of the poinsettia are in the center of the colorful bracts (modified leaves) Poinsettias have been called the lobster flower and flame leaf flower.

There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available. It is interesting to note that seventy-four percent of Americans still prefer red poinsettias; 8 percent prefer white and 6 percent pink, eighty percent of poinsettias are purchased by women and eighty percent of people who purchase poinsettias are above 40 years.!

In addition to its ornamental value, the poinsettia had many uses. The plant's red bracts were used to make a reddish-purple dye, or placed on a person's chest to stimulate circulation. They were crushed and applied to skin infections. The plant's latex was turned into a medicine to fight fevers.

In Chile and Peru the poinsettia is known as the "Crown of the Andes."
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