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The Story of Dr Poinsettia

The Camp Christmas Conservatory is famous for its carefully cultivated Poinsettia nursery. Most campers know that these colorful flowers are the bloom of choice during the Christmas season, but very few campers know why.

The poinsettia plant is indigenous to Mexico and was originally cultivated by the Aztecs, who named it Cuetlaxochitl. Most Mexicans call it Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) because it blooms in December and has been a favorite Christmas flower for centuries.

The poinsettia flower is actually a shrub, or small tree and—contrary to urban legend—not highly toxic to people or animals.

In 1825, Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first United States Ambassador to Mexico, introduced the plant to the U.S. and it was named for him. In the US, December 12 is National Poinsettia Day, marking the anniversary of Joel Roberts Poinsett's death.