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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Poinsettia "tree" is NOT poisonous!

In the New Leaf Flower Shoppe, Christmas means evergreen wreaths, pine roping, and poinsettias. Lots and lots of poinsettias are displayed in various ways. The patients and I work on selling these items to our customers and providing free delivery to offices on campus. We also make arrangements for offices and homes, and I will try to show pictures of that soon!

This picture shows you one of my most favorite displays that I had to have after seeing it elsewhere. It is steel structure that is conical in shape. It reminds me of the cages for the hoops skirts (from http://www.trulyvictorian.com/catalog/60cat.html. Each horizontal row is hung with rings that hold individual pots. We also use this display at Easter time to display the Easter Lilies!!

Also, I want to pass along recent information that disputes an erroneous myth concerning the toxicity of poinsettias. Simply put, poinsettias... are not toxic but may cause skin irritation. Here is further information taken from the following website:


Today the National Capital Poison Center in Washington, DC and poison control centers across the country list the poinsettia as a non-poisonous plant.

According to the Madison Poison Control Center, a 50-pound child would need to ingest 500-600 poinsettia leaves to suffer ill effects of any significance – which is highly unlikely to occur. Of course, minor gastrointestinal upset may occur if a child or pet consumes the leaves, as with the consumption of any non-food product, but the plant is not a deadly poison as previously thought and will not kill a child or animal. In the worst-case scenario, the child or pet could have an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea – all treatable using over-the-counter products. This was further confirmed when the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Melon University conducted a study of almost 23,000 poinsettia exposures reported to poison control centers across the country and found that none presented evidence of actual toxicity. Playing with the leaves could cause local minor skin irritation in humans, and children who play with the leaves and then rub their eyes could experience redness and irritation of the eyes. To prevent further irritation, eyes should be rinsed with lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes, and hands or body parts irritated by the plant should be washed well with soap and water. However, ingesting poinsettias is not shown to cause several stomach upset, convulsions, or other symptoms requiring emergency care. Probably the greatest threat the plants pose is the potential to obstruct a child or pet’s airway, causing choking. This holiday season, everyone can sit back and enjoy the beauty of poinsettia plants without a worry.


  1. Thank you for clearing that up. I knew about the possibility of skin irritation from the milky sap. I was never quite sure about the poison rumors.

  2. Wow, that poinsettia display is beautiful!

    I didn't know that about poinsettias either. I always assumed they were poisonous. And that one study was done here in Pgh. too!

  3. How beautiful! One of these years I'll have to do a poinsettia tree instead of the classic Christmas tree!

  4. All these years I've been thinking they were poisonous. That didn't stop me from buying and displaying them every year at this time.

  5. I think that poinsettia's have a bad rap from years ago. I have tried to spread the information about the new studies, but people have been stuck on the old rumor. Enjoy the Holidays!