North Carolina poinsettia industry is blooming

Jennifer Wood—
The poinsettia tower at the JC Raulston Arboretum poinsettia open house in Raleigh. Attendees had the opportunity to cast their ballots for their favorite varieties on Sunday

In 1825 the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Joel Poinsett (an amateur botanist) brought us the beauty of the Euphorbia pulcherrima. Since that time the colorful wonder that is the poinsettia plant has been gracing our homes during the holiday season. North Carolina’s contribution to the industry now stands at number two nationwide just behind California with 4.4 million sold in 2015.The leaves, or bracts, are what make the plant so beautiful and the center yellow area is the actual flower. Those leaves now come in almost every color in the rainbow, but red remains the most popular choice by far.Fun fact: December 12 is National Poinsettia Day ( and is not a new observance — we’ve been marking this date in honor of Poinsett since the 1800s in the U.S.