Thursday, November 26, 2015

Weihnachtsstern

In Germany this beautiful flower, known in the States as poinsettia, is called Christmas star. It is a bestseller during the upcoming holiday season. In 2014 more than 32 million plants were sold in Germany with more expected this year. In recent years the classical radiant red has been complemented by orange, yellow, and even white varieties. Originally poinsettia grew in the subtropical climate of Middle and South America reaching heights of up to 4 meters. In 1804 Alexander von Humboldt took the exotic plant to Europe. In 1825 US ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, introduced the plant in the States where in his honor it was called poinsettia. As there is no date in the calendar without a special day: In the United States, December 12, is National Poinsettia Day.

Actually poinsettia's petals are unspectacular. It is the leaves around the flower-heads that show off in their radiant red.

©Badische Zeitung

For my American friends; here comes the success story of poinsettia in the States. German immigrants, the Ecke family, started to cultivate the plants outdoors around Eagle Rock near Los Angeles in 1900. The breakthrough came in 1990 when Ecke's third generation moved to Encinitas, Calfornia selling poinsettia as cut flowers in Hollywood. As the hub of their sale fell into the Christmas season the Eckes called the "flowers" Weihnachtsstern. The name came back to Germany and the plant became a hot seller over here in recent years.

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