Red for joy: the poinsettia at Christmas

In their native Mexico and around the world, brilliant red poinsettias say Christmas is here

  • Photography by Friendskevin/shutterstock.com

Native to Central America, the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima), with its brilliant red bracts, has been associated with Christmas in Mexico since the sixteenth century. But it was the American horticulturalist Ecke family whose promotional efforts indelibly linked the colourful plant to the Christmas season. Grown around the world — whether in greenhouses and indoor pots, as in template climes, or in outdoor gardens, as in the Caribbean — poinsettias are now as much a part of Christmas as pine trees, holly, or mistletoe.