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A Very Brief History of the Poinsettia

The
poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a culturally and commercially an important plant species of the diverse spurge family that is indigenous
to Mexico and Central America. It derives its common English name from
Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Minister to Mexico, who
introduced the plant into the United States in 1825.





After
supplying his own greenhouses, Poinsett also distributed plants to
various botanical gardens and to some horticultural friends, including
John Bartram of Philadelphia. Bartram, in turn, supplied the plant to
Robert Buist, a nurseryman, who first sold the plant as Euphorbia
poinsettia. The botanical name had already been given by a German
taxonomist in 1833 as Euphorbia pulcherima. The poinsettia, however, has
remained the accepted name in English speaking countries.