Jim Faust is a Clemson horticulture professor.

Jim Faust is a Clemson horticulture professor.
Image Credit: Clemson University

GREENVILLE — How to pronounce Cuetlaxochitl, the ancient Aztec word for poinsettia, is just one of many mysteries Clemson professor Jim Faust will reveal during his informative presentation about the iconic Christmas plant.

Faust will present “Poinsettia: A 200-year journey from gangly Mexican shrub to Christmas icon” at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Poinsett Ballroom of the Westin Poinsett Hotel, 120 S. Main St., Greenville.

“The poinsettia has undergone an implausible transformation fueled by human spirit, scientific serendipity and marketing genius to become a symbol of the holiday season across the western world,” Faust said.

Faust will tell the tale of the plant’s perceived medicinal powers, its discovery by Spanish botanists, the role South Carolina native Joel Poinsett played in its introduction to America and the marketing push to have the plant become what it is today.

The presentation will be complimented by a display documenting the origin and history of the poinsettia. The display will feature a collection of heirloom and modern poinsettias grown by Clemson students that will be displayed at the hotel throughout December.

The presentation is free of charge and sponsored by Clemson Cooperative Extension and the Greater Greenville Master Gardeners.