Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Poinsettia (Euphorbie pulcherrima) - leaves (red)

Poinsettia, often referred to as the "Christmas Flower," the "Christmas Star," or the "Mexican Flame Leaf,"  is a sub-tropical plant native to southern Mexico and Central America.  In colder climates it is grown indoors.  Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States in 1825 by the former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett.  Although the flowers of this plant are always yellow, the leaves bloom in cream, lemon, peach, pink, and white, as well as deep red, which symbolizes good cheer and success.  Its botanical name, Euphorbie pulcherrima, means "the most beautiful Euphorbia."

Each Christmas I purchase at least one of these beautiful plants to enjoy during the holidays.  I am partial to the traditional deep red poinsettias, which I believe add richness and elegance to any room.  Some years I have more success than others in keeping my poinsettas growing past the Christmas Holiday.  This year was one of the successful years.  My plant stayed vibrant and healthly into February.  When the first leaves began to drop, I decided it was time to pick them and see what kind of color may develop in the dyepot.

I tore the leaves into small pieces, put them into my dyepot, and covered with water.  After bringing the water to a simmer, I entered one of my sample dyecards into the pot and let it simmer with the leaves for about an hour.  The water turned a deep crimson color.  My experience has been that most red or purple dyebaths obtained from plants usually result in green or tan colors on wool fibers.  Pulling the dyecard out of the bath, I discovered that poinsettias are no exception, although the iron-mordanted sample produced a deep gray.  After surveying the nice array of greens on my card, I decided to enter a 40-yd skein of wool yarn, pre-mordanted with tin, into the dyebath and allow it to simmer for about 45 minutes.  Here are my results:


  1. Thanks this post! I have often wondered what would happen if I tried dyeing with poinsettia.

    1. You are welcome. It is fun to just experiment and see what comes! I am totally in love with your Eucalyptus leaf prints on the silk noil....beautiful!