December is one of the coldest months of the year in the United States, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still many beautiful plants and flowers to observe during this month!
In fact, December has 3 official birth flowers, each of which has both a symbolic and horticultural association with the winter season as well as the specific month.
If you’re curious about which flowers and plants are linked to the month of December, read on! We have all the information you need to know about Holly, Narcissus, and Poinsettia!
When most people think about Holly, they think about the bright red berries and sharply pointed leaves found on a holly bush.
However, it is the white flower (from which a berry eventually grows) that is listed as December’s official flower.
Holly is a type of evergreen shrub, meaning it retains its leaves throughout the winter, thriving even in the coldest months. This explains why Holly is associated with cold December.
Holly also features in one well-known Christmas carol, which is especially popular in Britain: The Holly and the Ivy.
While Ivy is not an official birth flower for December, the carol does describe some of Holly’s key identifying features: white blossoms, red berries, and prickly leaves.
Symbolically, Holly is thought to represent domestic contentment, which is very appropriate in the spirit of the holidays towards the end of the year.
If you were born in December, Holly is a lovely and meaningful plant to decorate your home with for the holidays or to plant outside in your garden.
The sharp leaves should keep away deers and other animals, but make sure not to eat any of the berries yourself as they are toxic.
Paperwhite Narcissus (Narcissus Papyraceus)
The Narcissus flower is another plant that is known for being one of December’s birth flowers.
Specifically, it is the Paperwhite Narcissus that is commonly associated with December and the people born during this month.
Paperwhite Narcissus is a bulbous, perennial plant that naturally grows in Mediterranean countries such as Greece, Portugal, Algeria, and Morocco.
However, it now also grows in several areas of the United States, including Texas, Louisiana, and California.
The Paperwhite Narcissus is special for several reasons. For one thing, it’s the strongest-scented flower in the Narcissus family.
So, before you buy a ton of scented candles for the holidays, consider fragrancing your home with some Paperwhite Narcissus flowers!
Another reason why the Paperwhite Narcissus is associated with December (and, crucially, with Christmas) is that it symbolizes hope.
It is also a flower associated with faithfulness and unconditional love, which are wonderful sentiments to express to a loved one, especially if they are born in December.
Narcissus flowers in general are considered to be representative of fresh starts, new beginnings, and the concept of rebirth.
This means that Narcissus of any color is an excellent floral choice for December and the holidays, even if you can’t get your hands on a Paperwhite Narcissus.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima)
The Poinsettia is a vibrant and easily identifiable flower that is indigenous to certain parts of Central America as well as Mexico.
In the interest of botanical specificity, we should note that a Poinsettia is technically a shrub and not a flower, just like a Holly bush.
The red, white, or pink foliage that lies on top of more green foliage is often mistaken for a flower, but these are actually colorful leaves.
The symbolic associations of Poinsettia plants date back to the ancient Aztecs, who considered Poinsettias to represent purity. Today, Poinsettias are associated with success and celebration.
Wishes of success and the spirit of celebration abound in December as the calendar year draws to a close and we look with hope towards the future while celebrating family and the current year.
Traditionally, red Poinsettias are used for decoration in December because of the link between the deep crimson color and the Christmas holiday theme.
However, pink and white Poinsettias are also considered official December birth plants.
Please note that while Poinsettias have been found not to be as toxic as it was once believed, contact with the plant has been known to produce allergic reactions such as a rash that itches.
Therefore, if you use Poinsettias for December decoration, be sure to put them somewhere they won’t be disturbed.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Other Flowers Are Associated With December?
Holly, Paperwhite Narcissus, and Poinsettia are all official December birth flowers (or shrubs). However, other flowers are associated with the month of December despite not being widely considered birth flowers.
Flowers that bloom during the month of December, and can therefore be considered December flowers, include (but are not limited to) Winter Honeysuckle, Winter Clematis, Pansy, Viola, and Heather.
If you’re specifically looking for flowers to give or use as decorations during the December holidays, Cymbidium Orchids, Azalea, and Amaryllis are excellent options.
These flowers are in season in December and have traditional or symbolic links to the holidays.
What Zodiac Sign Has A December Birth Flower?
Poinsettia, Paperwhite Narcissus, and Holly are the birth flowers for people born between December 1st and December 21st, which are dates that fall under the Sagittarius zodiac sign.
They are also the flowers of people born from December 22nd to December 31st. People born on these dates are Capricorns.
Therefore, December birth flowers apply to some Sagittarius and Capricorn star signs.
How Are Birth Month Flowers Determined?
Some historians have suggested that the concept of birth month flowers dates back to the Roman era because this is when birthdays became celebrated events.
However, it wasn’t until the 18th century that plants were assigned symbolic meaning.
It is this floriography (the language of flowers) as well as seasonality that determines which flowers are associated with each month.
The birth month flowers for December are Holly, Poinsettia, and Paperwhite Narcissus – although Narcissus of any color will do in a pinch!
There are also several other flowers that are in season during the month of December and are associated with this month, including Winter Honeysuckle and Amaryllis.
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