How the Poinsettia Became the Christmas Flower


Poinsettias are widely recognized as a Christmas flower. Although a modern tradition, the history of the Poinsettia dates back to the birth of Jesus, and to a little girl named Pepita.

Pepita was overjoyed with the news about the birth of Jesus. She was even happier when she was the one chosen from her village to present a gift to the newborn baby. Coming from a very poor home, Pepita was unable to present a gift of monetary value, so she picked a handful of weeds and carefully arranged them into a bouquet. Once she arrived to present her gift, her smile turned into sadness and tears, as she became embarrassed that all she had to offer was a simple bouquet of weeds. Her tears of sadness disappeared when she saw the bouquet turn a bright red once the weeds were lain on the ground. Another miracle from heaven.

When Joel Roberts Poinsett, spotted poinsettias growing in Mexico, he did not realize that he was looking at a plant that would be named after him. Joel Poinsett was the United State’s first ambassador to Mexico, and on his visit to Mexico, he saw the poinsettias in bloom during December. As a botanist and Southern plantation owner, he was intrigued with these beautiful flowers and brought them back to grow in his greenhouse.

The poinsettias flourished in his South Carolina so he decided to give his plants and seeds to his friends and family.

Although discovered by Joel Poinsett, the Poinsettia was not a Christmas tradition until Paul Ecke cultivated the plant in 1902. Albert Ecke and his family emigrated to Southern California from Germany, where they grew a variety of crops, including flowers. Albert Ecke and his family saw the Poinsettia growing wild in California and decided to raise them as fresh cut flowers.

After Albert Ecke’s death in 1920, his son, Paul Ecke Sr., assumed management of the company. Paul Ecke would look for interesting species and began to cross-breed to develop new species. In 1923, Paul Ecke Sr. relocated his business to Encinitas, California.

After relocating the Poinsettia became known as a Christmas flower, after the hard work that Paul Ecke did in introducing and advertising the flower. Paul Ecke Sr worked over 70 years breeding, growing and distributing his plants to nurseries.

Today, the tradition of the Poinsettia has caught on around the world. 75% of Poinsettias grown in the United States, and 50% of those in the entire world, came from the Paul Ecke Ranch.


Posted on : Dec 20 2009
Posted under Christmas |

4 People have left comments on this post

Dec 20, 2009 - 05:12:40
Velta said:

Hi Beth ~ Thanks for sharing that information…Who knew? Not me…but, thanks to you, now I do…LOL…Here is wishing you and yours the Very Best of Holidays!!!

Jan 11, 2010 - 06:01:45
cristino said:

Nice to know that helpful information about How the Poinsettia Became the Christmas Flower. It’s nice flower andi have seen it in my dad’s shop. But i am more happy to know it’s details. I love to see colorful flowers in my shop. Nowadays there is too rush in our shop and i must thanks to that helps customers to find our shop. Thanks a lot for sharing this nice article.

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{ Mar 15, 2010 - 01:03:28 } All About the Christmas Poinsettia

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