Colorful Contribution

One of the classic images each Christmas is the decorative red glow of the Poinsettia, named for #Charleston native Joel Roberts Poinsett. Poinsett, who was well-educated and multi-lingual, was a diplomat by trade who served under several presidents as envoy or ambassador to foreign countries such as Russia, Chile and Mexico. He was also an avid botanist, and at his home in Charleston, he cultivated a variety of plants and trees in what became known as Poinsett’s Grove. While serving as ambassador to Mexico in the 1820’s, he became infatuated with the fiery-colored plant known scientifically as euphorbia pulcherrima, and brought samples back to cultivate in Charleston. The plant was eventually named for Poinsett, and is widely-used as a Christmas decoration today. One other lesser-known Christmas contribution from Poinsett was the fact that he almost single-handedly prevented an American Civil War in December of 1832, when South Carolina was threatening to nullify federal tariffs. It seemed that the state and the Federal government were headed for a military conflict until Poinsett used his connections with the nullifiers and President Andrew Jackson to help create a compromise.  <img.src=”Charleston History” alt=”The Poinsettia”

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