Lanzarote is not particularly well know for its abundance of plants although in the winter after a short rainfall plants seem to spring from nowhere and cover the normally barren landscape. This time of year the local councils cover the roundabouts and communal gardens with Pointsettias for Christamas floral displays. These plants are originally from Mexico and their name derives from the American minister to Mexico who introduced them into the US in 1825. His name was Joel Roberts Poinsett. In both Mexico and Guatemala this flower is known as Flor de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve plant)
The plant’s association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico, where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. From the 17th century, Franciscan friars in Mexico included the plants in their Christmas celebrations. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.