When Scrooge is taken back to “Christmas past” in Michoacan, Mexico, he comments on the poinsettia shrubs growing in the plaza of his small town. Productions I have seen of Coyote’s Christmas Carol used small potted poinsettias wrapped in foil like they just came from Home Depot. In Mexico the shrub or small tree, typically reaches a height of 2 to 16 ft (0.6 to 4 m). I would like to see productions try to create a more fitting representation of the beautiful Noche Buena plant Scrooge remembers from his youth. Or if this is too difficult, take the foil off and put the plants in old baskets.
Poinsettias are native to Mexico where they are called “Flor de la Noche Buena” or just “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve.) They were cultivated by the Aztec Indians. The colorful bracts were used to make a reddish purple dye. After the Spanish conquest and the introduction of Christianity, poinsettias began to be used in Christian rituals. Franciscan priests used the poinsettia in their nativity processions. Poinsettias were first introduced into the United States by Joel Robert Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. Poinsett had plants sent to his home in South Carolina. He then distributed plants to horticultural friends and botanical gardens.