poin·​set·​tia pȯin-ˈse-tē-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
 nonstandard  pȯint-,
-ˈse-tə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
: any of several spurges (genus Euphorbia) with flower clusters subtended by showy involucral bracts
especially : a showy Mexican and Central American plant (E. pulcherrima) with tapering usually scarlet bracts that suggest petals and surround small yellow flowers

Illustration of poinsettia

Illustration of poinsettia

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Contact your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting signs of ingesting a poinsettia. Olivia Munson, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2022 No potted plant typifies the holidays more than a bright red poinsettia. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 24 Oct. 2022 Sensitive to day length, the poinsettia needs a certain minimum amount of darkness each 24-hour period to stimulate blooming in the winter. oregonlive, 18 Oct. 2021 One large poinsettia steals the show of this arrangement, while fir sprigs and hypericum stems tuck behind to support the star. Natalie Dayton, Better Homes & Gardens, 14 Dec. 2021 The long sloping hillside, which stretches from Cannon Road south to Palomar Airport Road, has been home to flowering plants since 1923, when the Paul Ecke family moved their poinsettia-growing operation south from Los Angeles. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Feb. 2022 The flame — flickering softly in a red jar between a pair of poinsettia plants — burned for her sisters, nieces and nephews who still live in Ukraine. Christine Condon, baltimoresun.com, 14 Feb. 2022 Instead of poinsettia, the two trees flanking the hotel's lobby are trimmed with Birds of Paradise and the garland is made from hot pink Bougainvillea. Deanne Revel, Better Homes & Gardens, 7 Dec. 2021 In Florida, though, in the early years of the 20th century, a native variety of poinsettia grew wild and became a symbol of the state and especially of Christmas in Florida. Joy Wallace Dickinson, orlandosentinel.com, 20 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'poinsettia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


New Latin, from Joel R. Poinsett †1851 American diplomat

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poinsettia was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near poinsettia

Cite this Entry

“Poinsettia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poinsettia. Accessed 27 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



poin·​set·​tia pȯin-ˈset-ē-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio) -ˈset-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
: a showy Mexican and Central American plant with large scarlet bracts that grow like petals about its small yellow flowers

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