Poisonous Holiday Plants ? Or Urban Legends? « The Wired Gardener

a post from Jessica Story, Meadowbrook Farm

Poinsettias are NOT poisonous, they are the most studied decorative plant ever and no toxic effects have been found. In 1919 a 2 year old child of an army officer was found dead under a Poinsettia tree in Hawaii with poinsettia leaves in her hand. The investigation cleared the plant, but the record was never set straight and it has become an urban legend.

In nearly 23,000 recorded cases of Poinsettia ingestion, no life-threatening effect has ever been reported. The equivalent of a child eating over 600 leaves was tested and found to have little or no effect. Vomiting and diarrhea, while unpleasant, is the most likely result for a child or animal that did consume the leaves.

Interesting note-the Poinsettia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society have a long history together-the first public introduction of the plant was at the first Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Flower Show in 1829)

Like a number of common houseplants, many common holiday plants are mildly toxic, but are so foul-tasting that ingesting enough to cause harm would be difficult. Holly and Mistletoe probably pose the most risk, because the berries can be swallowed whole. Jerusalem Cherry is extremely toxic and should be avoided in households with young children. Ornamental peppers may cause discomfort like any other hot pepper, but are not toxic.

Other common “toxic” holiday plants (safe to use, just use common sense too!)

Amaryllis

Cyclamen

Christmas Cactus

Yew, as cut greens

Juniper berries on cut greens

Paperwhites

Have you ever had a problem with children or pets eating any of these holiday plants?

Poisonous Holiday Plants ? Or Urban Legends? « The Wired Gardener

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