The Poinsettia photos in this post were taken at The First Christian Church where I am a member.
Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch is the correct and accepted scientific name for the Poinsettia. It was named and documented by Carl Ludwig Willdenow and Johann Friedrich Klotzsch in Allgemeine Gartenzeitung in 1834.
Hello everyone! I hope you had a great Christmas and all is well. I wanted to write this post to give you some information about the origin of our favorite Christmas flower, the Poinsettia.
First of all, the Wikipedia says, “The poinsettia is native to Mexico. It is found in the wild in deciduous tropical forests at moderate elevations from southern Sinaloa down the entire Pacific coast of Mexico to Chiapas and Guatemala. It is also found in the interior in the hot, seasonally dry forests of Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Chiapas.” In its native habitat, the Poinsettia can grow between 2 and 14 feet tall.
The story begins in the 16th century with a little girl who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. The story goes on to say that she was inspired by an angel to pick weeds from the roadside to place in front of the church altar. Crimson flowers sprouted from the weeds and became Poinsettias.
In the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico used them in their Christmas decorations.
The star-shaped leaf pattern symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem and the red color represents the blood of Jesus.
In Mexico and Guatemala is called Flor de Noche Buena, meaning Christmas Flower. It is known as Flor de Pascua, in Spain, meaning Easter Flower. It is known as Crown of the Andes in Chile and Peru.
The common name was given to the plant in honor of the first United States Minister to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, who introduced the plant to the United States in 1825.
The Poinsettia as we know it today mainly started with a German immigrant, Albert Ecke, who moved to Los Angeles from Germany in 1900. He opened a dairy and orchard in the Eagle Rock area and started selling Poinsettias on street stands. His son, Paul Ecke, developed a grafting technique which revolutionized the industry. Paul Ecke, Jr. took over the family business in 1963 and really got it rolling, promoting the Poinsettia as the Christmas flower.
Until the 1980’s, The Ecke Ranch had the monopoly of the Poinsettia industry. In the late 1980’s, a university researcher named John Dole discovered the method the Eckes used to create a much busier plant than their competition. Until then it was only known by the Eckes. He published his discovery, which allowed their competition to expand, especially those using low-cost labor in Latin America.
Paul Ecke III took over the Ecke Ranch in 1992 and started production in Guatemala. Somewhere in there, they stopped production in the U.S. He sold the company in 2012 then it was taken over by Dümmen Orange in 2015. In the article, Dümmen Orange CEO says all the companies they acquired have a rich and successful history.
The Eck Ranch was the worlds largest Poinsettia producer and still had 70% of the U.S. market, and 50% worldwide when Paul Ecke III decided to sell. HERE is a link to an interview with Paul Ecke III with him explaining the news.
It is always sad when a family-owned business is taken over by large corporations that have taken over many family businesses. I guess as their competition increases with rising costs to produce their product, something has to change. Once they start downsizing to avoid losses, it is only a matter of time. It seems to be easier for new businesses to start than for older business to hang on.
Well, I better close and get back to work on the pages to the right. I am just about ready to start on the “D’s”… I have a question for you… I have the plant pages on the right categorized by plant type but I am thinking about changing and listing them by family name at some point. That could complicate things, though, as even family names are and will continue to change. Even deciding what “category” is difficult because what are grown as annuals here are perennials or even houseplants in other zones. Maybe I should just do them in alphabetical order… What do you think?
Well, I’ll go for now. Tomorrow is going to be very cold with an expected high of 19 degrees! HOLY CRAP! So, until next time, stay happy, healthy, positive, and warm. Get dirty if you can. I am thinking about bringing a bucket of dirt in my room just so I can get my hands dirty.