As you enjoy a beautiful poinsettia plant this holiday season remember that SC native Joel Poinsett was responsible for bringing this beautiful plant to the US from Mexico in the 1820’s.
First Minister to Mexico
He simultaneously served as a special envoy to Mexico from 1822 to 1823 and was appointed the first American minister to Mexico in 1825, and became embroiled in the country’s political turmoil until his recall in 1830. It was during this time that he visited the area of southern Mexico called Taxco del Alarcon were he found what was later to become known in the United States as the poinsettia, in Mexico is called “Flor de Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve flower). (The Aztecs referred to the winter-blooming plant as cuetlaxochitl; its Latin name is Euphorbia pulcherrima or “the most beautiful Euphorbia.”) Poinsett, an avid amateur botanist, sent samples of the plant home to the States and by 1836 the plant was most widely known as the “poinsettia”.
Read more of his story at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joel_Roberts_Poinsett