Poinsettias always make me think of Christmas and the holiday season.
When I was growing up, my dad was a member of Kiwanis, a civic organization, and selling poinsettias at the holidays was one of the club’s big fundraisers for community projects they sponsored.
I’d go with Dad to help him deliver the poinsettias to the people who ordered them. They would smile when they opened their door and saw us standing there with their poinsettia — or poinsettias.
They’d often tell us about how they were going to use the poinsettia — as a gift for someone, as a table centerpiece, or, in some cases, in lieu of a Christmas tree.
So I associate poinsettias with the holidays and good cheer.
Many others think that, too, as every year, about 70 million poinsettias are sold in the US, with most sold during the six-week holiday season.
Standing amid a sea of colorful poinsettias is a wonderful way to feel the joy of the holiday season.
I’ve been able to do that by visiting the University of Florida’s Environmental Horticulture Club Poinsettia Sale.
The greenhouses are filled with more than 5,000 poinsettias and 50 different varieties.
You can walk through aisle after aisle of poinsettias, among the reds of different hues, the pinks, the marbled and the whites.
This year, the club had its sale by appointment-based shopping and drive-thru shopping only.
I’m enjoying their poinsettias through photos I’ve taken in previous years — and you can, too.
The poinsettia is native Mexico and South America and was grown by the Aztecs for its medical properties. In Mexico the plant is known as “La Flor de la Nochebuena” (Flower of the Holy Night) due to a Christmas legend associated with the plant.
The plant gained the name Poinsettia from Joel Roberts Poinsett, a botanist and first US Ambassador to Mexico, who sent the plants to his greenhouse in South Carolina in the 1828. Poinsettia Day is Dec. 12, in honor of Poinsett’s death.
In doing a little research on Poinsett, I found that he was a leader in botanical exploration and a founding member of the institution that now is called the Smithsonian Institute. There’s another reason to like poinsettias.
Best wishes for peace and good health in the holiday season and in 2021.