Originally from Mexico, the native inhabitants of the area were called cuetlaxochitl, which in Nahuatl means ‘flower that withers.’ Another sense, less frequent, relates to the term cuitlatl, meaning excrement in Nahuatl, because when the birds defecated the seeds ingested they spread them and the plant was born from their excrements.
It was made known to the world during the colonial era, in which the churches were decorated with these plants during the holidays because their leaves have a bright red color at that time of the year. This practice, that is very trendy nowadays, went to Spain when the plant was introduced in Europe during the nineteenth century, hence its common name Poinsettia or Christmas plant. Its specific name pulcherrima means ‘the most beautiful’ to be possibly the most visually spectacular genus euphorbia.
In Argentina, on the other hand, it is known as federal star because its red recalls to the iconic red color of the Federal Party and the arrangement of its petals can remind a star.