Starting with the correct pronunciation.

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Ah, the poinsettia. The vivid green-and-red darling of Christmas décor and favored gift of holiday houseguests everywhere, this festive shrub is as synonymous with Christmastime as gingerbread.

But just because its crimson leaves are the only foliage you can identify in a lineup, doesn’t mean you know all there is to know about this popular plant.  In fact, most people don’t even know how to pronounce it.

Scroll down for five interesting tidbits you might not know about this beloved Christmas shrub.

The ‘i” is not silent

Forget how your great aunt always pronounced it, the last “i” in poinsettia isn’t silent. According to Merriam-Webster, the correct pronunciation is “poinsett-i-a” not poin-sett-a.”

Poinsettias have colorful leaves, not petals

That beautiful bright red foliage that always manages to catch your eye? Yeah, those aren’t flowers, they’re actually specialized leaves called bracts. The beady yellow clusters at the bottom of each leaf bunch are the real flowers of poinsettia plants. These are called cyathia.

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Poinsettias are not poisonous

Contrary to popular belief, they are not poisonous. According to National Capital Poison Center, poinsettia “can be irritating but it is not fatal if eaten.” It can cause a mouth rash and stomach upset when eaten my children or pets but will not result in serious side effects.

You can buy more than 100 varieties of poinsettia

You wouldn’t guess it based on a trip to your local grocery store, but poinsettias actually come in more than 100 color variations. In addition to the traditional red, they also come in white, pink, burgundy, marbled and speckled.

Poinsettias are the most popular potted plant in America

According to the USDA, poinsettias are America’s number-one potted plant, with nearly 80 million sold for more than $250 million annually.

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