After orchids, poinsettia is ranked as the UK’s most popular pot plant, yet it’s a plant with a difficult, but familiar story: Removed a long time ago from a poorer nation (Mexico), by Ambassador Poinsett, a representative of a richer nation (USA), it was then distributed, cultivated and sold, creating huge economic reward for the transporter and his nation. The wealth of Britain’s empire was largely based on unofficially stolen plants, so we can’t judge. Long before it became poinsettia, or Euphorbia pulcherrima, the plant with flaming red foliage was called cuetlaxochitl by the Aztecs. This is Mexico’s plant. We’re just very fortunate that we get to enjoy it so much.
Poinsettia’s in Frida Kahlo’s hair?
Two well-known female artists painted the Poinsettia for very different purposes, one to record its existence and the other as a commentary on existence.
Marianne North, Flor de Pascua at Morro Velho, Brazil – Marianne North, 1873
Georgia O’Keeffe, Mule’s Skull with Pink Poinsettia, 1936