Friday, December 3, 2010

The Ataturk Flower

Pointsettia 11Image via WikipediaAtaturk Çiçeği - you know it better as the red pointsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). Native to South America, it now grows in Turkey and other parts of the world. Some even get as large as a small shrub. They get kind of leggy when you grow them outside, though.

Ataturk (the first president of modern Turkey) must have liked them or something, because the Turks named the plant after him. What they called it before he showed up is anyone's guess. Maybe the arabic name for it, "Bint el Konsul", meaning daughter of the Consul? Poinset (who claims the English name for the flower) was the Consul in Egypt at one time.

Most of Turkey's population is Muslim, but a lot of us (probably a majority) celebrate the New Year on January 1st with the rest of the world, exchanging gifts, etc... During the winter holiday season, many malls and homes display the pointsettia proudly. "New Year" trees are usually plastic, but I've seen some showstoppers made out of live pointsettia plants.

So there you have some interesting trivia to talk about over crudités this season!
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Jules said...

Who would have known? ;) My mother loves these flowers.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Golden Eagle said...

I actually have to wear two of those flowers tomorrow for a performance. :D It's great knowing more about them now!

Old Kitty said...

I've tried to keep poinsettas as house pot plants but could never get the atmosphere right and always end up killing them so I've stopped!

But they are beautiful though when first bought! Take care

Carolyn V. said...

How do you know all these cool things Carolyn? I love poinsettias. I've never heard the history before. So interesting. =)

Christopher said...

One of my favorite flowers...

OJ Gonzalez-Cazares said...

this flower is a classic christmas plant in mexico - we call it Noche Buena (it translates to Christmas' eve) - didn't know it was a Turkish tradition too!

Berrak Karun said...

I live in Turkey and I actually thought that we named this flower because Atatürk loved it so much. But after I searched the actual story I found out the real reason why it is called Atatürk flower. This flower is not a natural flower, it has created in Chicago, Wanderbit University Doctor Kirk Landon laboratuary. And one of the professors suggested that they should call it Atatürk flower because he admired Atatürk's knowledge of nature when he met him in Tharsus Collage. And the name accepted by the proffessors in the meeting they did about Atatürk.


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