Nochebuena, aka poinsettias, are native to Mexico.  (Image: Kathryn Reed)

While the poinsettia is native to Mexico, that isn’t what it is called here. It’s known as la flor de la Nochebuena or the flower of Christmas Eve.

It is from Joel Roberts Poinsett that the plant gets its more common name. He brought it to the United States from Mexico in 1828. Poinsett was a botanist as well as the first U.S. ambassador to Mexico.

Nochebuena grow along a street in Todos Santos. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Here they are a perennial shrub that can reach 15-feet in height. The ones in Todos Santos, Baja California Sur, look more like a tree with tiny trunks than a shrub. Flowers jut off from spindly branches. The flowers are the distinct red that is so prevalent on the plants one sees for sale at Christmas.

However, there are more than 100 varietals of Nochebuena, with colors including white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.

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