Q:

Where did the poinsettia plant originate?

A:

Quick Answer

Poinsettias originally came from Mexico, where they grow as a large shrub. The poinsettia plant is named after Joel Poinsett, a botanist and physician who brought poinsettias to the United States in 1828.

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Full Answer

The Aztecs called the poinsettia plant "Cuitlaxochitl," which means "flower that grows in soil." In Mexico, it is called "la flor de Nochebuena" ("the Christmas Eve flower"), and in parts of South America, it is known as "la corona de los Andes" ("the crown of the Andes").

It is best to keep poinsettias away from pets because the leaves, if ingested, can cause diarrhea and vomiting. They are not extremely poisonous, however. A 50-pound child would have to ingest 500 leaves for any long-term effect.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Are poinsettias easy to grow?

    A:

    Poinsettias are an easy plant to keep. This type of plant needs to be outside or in a room that gets plenty of sunlight. The temperature should be between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, with few drafts.

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  • Q:

    Are poinsettias poisonous to humans?

    A:

    Poinsettias are not poisonous to humans. In some cases, contact with the plant can cause mild discomfort. Skin contact with the poinsettia sap can cause a rash, and ingestion of the leaves can cause stomach ache, vomiting or diarrhea. However, such reactions are rare.

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  • Q:

    Can poinsettias be planted outside?

    A:

    Poinsettias can thrive outside providing the weather conditions are warm enough. These sub-tropical flowering plants do not like the cold or frost, so put them into the ground beginning in the spring wherever winter weather is a problem.

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  • Q:

    Can poinsettias stay outside in the cold?

    A:

    Poinsettias should not stay outside in temperatures that are below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When the plants are moved outdoors in warm weather, they should be placed in a partially shaded location for the first 2 weeks and then moved to an area that receives full sun.

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