Poinsettia and Weihnachtskaktus


Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

***** Location: USA, worldwide
***** Season: All Winter
***** Category: Plant


Native to Mexico and Central America, the poinsettia, also known as the Mexican flame leaf or Christmas star (Euphorbia pulcherrima), is a plant known for its striking red displays at Christmas time.
It is often used as a floral Christmas decoration because of its festive colours.

Nochebuena, the Mexican name of the flower English-speakers call poinsettia, was discovered in Taxco and the valleys surrounding Cuernavaca. Known by the Aztecs in their native Nahuatl language as cuetlaxochitl, it is believed that they brought the plant from the tropical climate of Cuernavaca to their Aztec highlands for cultivation in special nurseries. Prized in the prehispanic era for the curative properties of the milk that dripped from the leaves, stems and flowers when cut, the pigment from the red leaves was also used to dye cotton fibers.

After the Conquest, the Spanish Franciscan priests posted to the Taxco area used the plants to decorate their Christian nativity scenes, creating its first link to the Christmas season. The nochebuena gained further attention when Hernando Ruiz de Alarcon, a resident of Taxco and the brother of a famous Spanish writer, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, wrote poetically about the flower and later, when it captured the attention of the Spanish botanist Don Juan Balme.

Its greatest promoter, however, was Joel Roberto Poinsett (1770-1851), who served as the U.S. ambassador to Mexico following Mexicoエs Independence from Spain. Although his record as an ambassador is generally agreed to be mediocre, he cherished Mexico and fell in love with the plant when he first saw it in 1823 adorning the churches of Taxco. He sent plants to decorate his mansion in Charlestonville, South Carolina, one Christmas, and upon his return home several years later he was astonished to find the entire town growing the Christmas flower, or "poinsettia".

Read a lot more interesting facts here:


history and lore regarding the poinsettia

Legend from Mexico

Information on National Poinsettia Day

December 12 was set aside as
National Poinsettia Day.

The date marks the death of Joel Roberts Poinsett, who is credited with introducing the native Mexican plant to the United States.

Worldwide use


"Christmas Star", Weihnachtsstern.



kigo for mid-winter

poinsechia ポインセチア Poinsettia
shoojooboku, shoojoo boku 猩々木(しょうじょうぼく)"Tipster Sprite tree"
kurisumasu furawaa クリスマスフラワー "Christmas flower"

Shojo Midare 猩々乱 Noh Play
About a spirit of ancient China

Things found on the way


A Christmas tradition
For Grandma



along the path
lost in the mist

Angelee Deodhar

Look at this nice haiga to go with it:

Related words

***** Christmas Cactus (Weihnachtskaktus)
(Schlumbergera bridgesii)

shakoba saboten 蝦蛄葉仙人掌 (しゃこばさぼてん)
shako saboten 蝦蛄仙人掌(しゃこさぼてん)
kurisumasu kakutasu クリスマスカクタス

Christmas Cactus is also a seasonal plant that blossoms around Christmas time. Native to Brazil, but now grown all over and sold around the Christmas season in the stores.

While the poinsettia remains the most popular of the holiday plants, a healthy Christmas cactus in full bloom is a great gift idea for that special gardener. They are easy to care for and can be grown indoors throughout the year. The flowers range in color from yellow, salmon, pink, fuschia and white or combinations of those colors.

CLICK for more photos

Other types of Holiday Cactus:
Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) and the
Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis gaertneri).

Alone in the window
a Christmas Cactus




Schlumbergera, also called Zygocactus, also called Christmas cactus in many countries and also called "Dekabrist" (Decemrist) by Russians, because it blooms in December.
It is a house plant not native to Russia.
See this site in Russian:

Передача о декабристах -
вспомнила: надо полить
своего декабриста

TV story of the Decembrists -
remembering to water
my Decembrist

Now, to understand this haiku, one must know that "Decembrists" for Russians are primarily the people of the Russian failed revolt of 1825.

The Decembrist revolt or the Decembrist uprising (Russian: Восстание декабристов) was attempted in Imperial Russia by army officers who led about 3,000 Russian soldiers on December 14 (December 26 New Style), 1825. Because these events occurred in December, the rebels were called the Decembrists (Dekabristy, Russian: Декабристы). This uprising took place in the Senate Square in St. Petersburg. In 1925, to mark the centenary of the event, it
was renamed as Decembrist Square (Ploshchad' Dekabristov, Russian: Площадь Декабристов).

The flowers have nothing to do with the revolutionaries, of course.

Zhanna P. Rader


her tear waters
the christmas cactus* --
husband's memory

*(orchid cactus)

"chibi" (pen-name for Dennis M. Holmes)
December 2008

Northern Hemisphere kigo for winter



Gabi Greve said...

. Poinsechia (Poinsettia), By LINDA INOKI .




Anonymous said...

How did the poinsettia come to be associated with Christmas?

The holiday's connection to the poinsettia originated with a Mexican legend. With nothing to give to the Christ Child, a youngster picked a bouquet of weeds as an offering.

As the gift was presented, the weeds transformed into brilliant red blooms. Since then, the plant is known in Mexico as Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night), or just nochebuena for short.

The poinsettia's red "flowers" aren't actual flowers. They're bracts (modified leaves), and the little yellow centers are the flowers. Regardless, the plants have enchanted people for centuries.

Aztecs used them for dyes and as medicine. The first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Pointsett, is credited with bringing cuttings from the plant back to his home in South Carolina in the late 1820s, where it flourished in his greenhouse. The poinsettia was named after him.

The festive poinsettia has a particularly toxic urban legend attached to its rich red leaves. Since the poisoning of a child in 1919 was falsely attributed to the plant, it's been widely assumed that the poinsettia is poisonous to ingest.

Bitter and not particularly tasty, yes. But you can take it off that poison list now and enjoy it in every corner of your house during the holiday season.

Quoted from

Anonymous said...

cactus blossoms
all over the old car
reflected moons

Fredua, Ghana

. . . the cactus blossoms mostly after rains and the soil has become moist and mostly opens up at night. Yet it doesn't seem to flower during the main rainy season.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .