Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

The Legend of the Poinsettia

décembre 25The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) comes from Mexico. It was originally planted by the Aztecs, who saw in its blood red “flowers” (actually bracts) a symbol of purity (for the Aztecs, blood was considered a purifier). The Spanish priests initially fought against this “cursed plant” before finally accepting the altogether too deeply rooted tradition by giving it a Catholic twist. Thus was born the following legend:

A little girl (or a boy, depending on the narrator) wanted to see the baby Jesus, but had no gift to give him. For lack of anything better, she cut some seemingly dead branches to give to the holy child. But when she presented her bouquet to the baby, a miracle occurred. The branches burst into brilliant red flowers – poinsettia flowers – and the baby Jesus smiled! Since then, the poinsettia always blooms at Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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