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National Poinsettia Day 12 December

Posted: 12 Dec, 2019. No comments

National Poinsettia Day 12 December

With an election going on in the UK, you could be excused for not knowing the fact that today is National Poinsettia Day. I predict that National Poinsettia Day is going to feature in a pub quiz near you, soon!

Since they are known as the Christmas flower, you might be forgiven for thinking that the 12 December had been chosen because of proximity to the festive holidays. If you did think that, I know I did, it’s a misapprehension. We are / were wrong. The date has been chosen because it is an important date.

Joel Roberts Poinsett died on the 12th December. You will not have missed Joel’s family name. He had been an American botanist and a Minister to Mexico, when in 1828 he discovered what we now call Poinsettia flowers growing on a hillside in Southern Mexico. Cuttings were sent home to Charlestown, South Carolina from where distribution of the flowers started once it had grown well in his greenhouse.

Q Gardens, Zygi Kalavassos, Cyprus

From Mexico via the USA to Cyprus. I do not know when the Poinsettia was introduced to Cyprus. What I do know, is that one of our most popular local garden centres, Q Gardens, was built on the sales of Poinsettia on Cyprus. Let me explain.

In 2011 at the time of the opening of Q Gardens, I was invited to interview the owner, Soteris Shaelos, to take photographs and write an article about the business. Whilst there I took photographs of Shaelos senior in a huge greenhouse totally surrounded by Poinsettia. Soteris went on to tell me that he had been a chef in Nicosia who as a past-time tended plants in his greenhouse. Never has the expression “from small acorns” been more apt!

When you visit Cyprus, be sure to have a look around Q Gardens. Sure the name of the business is a heavy pun on a globally renowned institution. That takes nothing away from the great work that they do, preparing and presenting plants, shrubs, trees and more for sale. You will be in for a treat. In fact if you are there from early December onwards you will see a ton of poinsettia and you may reflect on the start of the story.

I’m off to buy a poinsettia, not because of Christmas, but because of the actions of one man, Joel Roberts Poinsett. He has brought happiness beyond measure for years and years and years. In fact now that there is a National Day it is unlikely that we shall ever forget the name he gave to this beautiful plant!

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