10 Poinsettia Flower Symbolism Facts & Meaning: Zodiac, Superstitions, Dreams, and Myths

Poinsettia Flower Symbolism Facts & Meaning: Zodiac, Superstitions, Dreams, and Legends

Poinsettia Flower Facts

Pronounced as poyn·seh·tee·uh, it is a plant endemic to Mexico and Central America. It got its name from US Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett, who brought the flowers to the Americas in 1828.

Considered a deciduous plant, belonging to the Euphorbiaceae or spurge family, this flowering shrub grows to about ten feet in height and loves the sun. It requires about 6 to 8 hours of sun to achieve the bright crimson red colored bracts. Yes, that’s the transformed bracts that we mistake for petals. The “cyathia” or yellow-colored flowers in the center of the crimson-red bracts are its flowers.

Poinsettias have a few namesakes, such as “Mexican flame leaf” and “Ataturk’s flower” (in honor of Turkeys’ founder who loves these flowers), “painted leaf”, “spurge root”, “snakeroot” asthma plant” “easter flower” and “lobster plant”. It also has names connected to Christmas (being a Christmas flower itself), it is also called “the winter rose”, ”flor de Noche Buena”, “star of Christmas”, “star of Bethlehem” and aptly enough, as “Christmas flower”.

Poinsettia Flower Uses

Poinsettias are known to treat fever. It is also used to treat various reproductive health issues, including gonorrhea, premature ejaculation, and impotence. The flower is also used to stimulate breast milk production and soothens swollen breasts. On another note, it has been associated to cause abortion. For the treatment of warts, the sap of Poinsettia is topically applied on the skin. However, no known study has yet been published on these claims.

The plant is widely cultivated in almost all states of America and especially in demand during the holiday season. It is commonly made as garlands and wreaths on Christmas. However, nowadays Poinsettias are popularly made out of plastics and paper origami, especially during the holiday season. The bracts of Poinsettia can also be used to produce a red dye.

As a general air cleaning plant, it helps remove impurities from the air. The plant can be potted or planted directly.

Poinsettia Flower History

Early accounts of the plant date back to 12BC, under King Juba II of Mauretania. Euphorbus, the king’s physician, was said to bring up in the mountain an enormous number of Poinsettias for the king. It serves as the king’s medication. The king then named the plant after Euphorbus, hence its botanical name “Euphorbius” and “Pulcherrima” meaning beautiful treasure.

In the 14th century, it is locally called “cuetlaxochitl” (kwet-la-sho-she), the Nahuatl name for Poinsettia, from the Aztecs of Mexico where this flower is a native. It means purity. From the author (Burciaga 1993), “Flower that withers, a mortal flower that perishes like all that is pure”. The Aztecs used the plant’s red leaves for medication and also for red dye production.

Joel Roberts Poinsett, US Ambassador to Mexico in 1825, while on a visit to Taxco, Mexico, saw the enchanting Poinsettias. Being a botanist himself, he took and sent the plants to his hometown in Greenville, South Carolina. He then propagated and distributed to various gardens in the Americas. In 1833, Robert Buist, believed to be the first person to sell the plant in the US, named it after Poinsett. Plant cuttings were an industry established by the Ecke family in the 1920s. Paul and Albert Ecke have become major producers of Poinsettia from their ranch in California.

Poinsettia Flower Positive Symbolism

Poinsettia is a symbol of joy, festivities, and community. It also symbolizes hope and miracles.

Poinsettia Flower Negative Symbolism

With its symbolism of blood, it represents the warriors that died in a battle with the Aztecs of Mexico.

With the red bracts always mistaken for true petals, the Poinsettia Flower reminds us for our naivety that we are not always right. We also commit mistakes.

Poinsettia Flower Cultural Symbolism

Cuetlaxochitl’s symbolism in Mexico is sacred power related to the sun. It represents the blood of the Taxco warriors that were killed in battle by the Aztecs.

In the US and most catholic countries, Poinsettias symbolize the start of the holiday season. Churches are also adorned with flowers symbolizing each family member that passed away.

In Madagascar, the Poinsettia Flower is not just an icon during Christmas but a national emblem.

Poinsettia Flower Zodiac Sign

Poinsettias are known to be a flower for the zodiac born in December which is Sagittarius and Capricorns. The Sagittarians are described to be smart, attractive, strong. While the Capricorns are ambitious and pragmatic.

With merry vibes and promise of a blessed year ahead, the Poinsettia Flower fills the life of those born in the month of December.

Poinsettia Flower in Dreams

Dreaming of Poinsettias always means positive. It is an anticipation of something festive, something better is coming. It is also a remembrance of the good old times.

Specific acts like buying Poinsettias means a need to spend more time with family. Giving Poinsettias reflects that you are unselfish and a giver. Selling means you want things kept a secret. Being surrounded by the flower mirrors that you are surrounded with love and affection.

When you rather dream of planting them is interpreted as a longing to create something attractive. Picking one means a new and exciting love is on its way. However, a Poinsettia growing in desolate land means trouble in life. More so, a destroyed flower means of a bad vibe coming.

Poinsettia Flower Omens and Superstitions

A belief that has been connected to Poinsettia is that it is poisonous which is not completely true. However, it is still not intended for consumption. No other paganic superstitions are documented about this flower besides those festive and all about holidays. Since Poinsettias are shaped similar to the stars, it is thought as a lucky star similar to what have led the wise men to Jesus. Moreover, there are people who believe that the red appearance represents the blood of Jesus making it significant to display on Christmas time. 

Poinsettia Flower Mythology and Folklore

A tale from ancient Tlaxcalans goes that this enchanting flower came about from the heartache of a beautiful princess. Stories told that the princess fell deeply in love with a commoner. The commoner loved her as much as she loved him, but it was a forbidden love. Her parents forbade their love. And so goes that from her anguish sprang the beautiful and enchanting Poinsettia, woes of a love forbade.

Another story was of a little poor girl in Christmas time, from a little town in Mexico, who has nothing to offer to church at the nativity. She was so sad when an old man came from nowhere and told her to just pick anything to offer for baby Jesus. So she picked a bunch of leaves along the way and offered them at the altar. The people who saw her laughed and said that she was just offering weeds. Right in front of their eyes, the weeds became bright red leaves. And when the townspeople went out of the church, all the trees were covered in red leaves as well. And that was the legend of how Christmas Poinsettias came to be.

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