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The history of the “flower of Christmas” (Poinsettia)

Mexico / Madrid / The flower of “Easter”, “Christmas Eve” or “Christmas” (Poinsettia) illuminates red the holidays in the world, product of the “improvement of this Mexican wild species” whose origins date back to pre-Hispanic times and blooms every winter.



“There are wild plants from which the plants cultivated improved are obtained, whether they are from the sun, for gardens or open spaces or shade, produced under a greenhouse,” according to biologist Mónica Pérez, who assured that there are a hundred varieties of this flower at the level world.

“Their leaves are modified by dyeing them with colourful colours to attract their pollinators and the plant can continue to spread,” which gives rise to “yellow, white, mustard, roses and more,” she said.

Of them, she stands out their beauty in colours and sizes for ornamental, while the wild species, “less striking and smaller”, register medicinal and nutritional properties.

A study conducted by the Christmas Eve Network, to which Pérez belongs, determined that the latex, the plant’s milky substance, can be toxic.

Therefore, it has been recommended to soak the flower “to avoid damage” when used in dishes such as salads, cream of almonds with flowers, vegetarian ceviche, stuffed cheese breast and Christmas Eve.

In addition to being used as a poultice for skin diseases, women who breastfed their children came to her to increase milk production.

This native flower expanded to the world when the American ambassador Joel R. Poinsett (1825-1829) found the species in the municipality of Taxco de Alarcón, in the southern state of Guerrero, cradle of the Christmas Eve flower.

Therefore, Christmas Eve varieties grown and marketed are mainly created in the United States and Europe with improvements in size, ramifications, bracts and colours.

Mexico hosts a great diversity of Christmas Eve flowers in states like Chiapas, where it is known as Sijoyo, in Durango it is called Catalina, as well as poinsettia in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Veracruz and Hidalgo.

Within the Mexican borders it also receives other names, such as Christmas Star, Santa Catalina and Flor de Fuego.

In Guatemala it is identified as Macaw, while it is known as Corona de los Andes in Chile and Peru, Christmas Flower in Venezuela, Federal Star in Argentina and “Flor de Pascua” (Poinsettia) in Spain. (December 2017, EFE/Practica Español)

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Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read and answer the questions)

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Question 1
La noticia trata…
del descenso de ventas de flores de Navidad.
del reciente descubrimiento de una nueva especie vegetal.
del cultivo y usos de una planta.
Question 2
En la noticia se dice que…
esa especie de planta no tiene ningún tipo de utilidad.
esa especie de planta no solo es utilizada para decorar en Navidad.
esa especie de planta es utilizada solo con fines decorativos.
Question 3
En el texto se dice que...
las especies silvestres pueden ser consumidas aunque con precaución.
todavía no se ha utilizado esta especie vegetal para su consumo.
no hay motivos para que una persona se intoxique por el consumo de esta planta.
Question 4
Esta flor es originaria de México.
No se sabe.
Question 5
La especie silvestre de la flor de Navidad…
es exactamente igual que la que es cultivada por el hombre.
tienen unos colores más vistosos que la que el hombre cultiva.
es mucho menos voluminosa que la que el hombre ha modificado.
Question 6
Esta especie vegetal recibe un nombre distinto en diferentes zonas geográficas.
Es mentira.
¡Imposible saberlo!
Es verdad.
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