Poinsettias: Fact & Myth
Fact: People buy at least 2-3 million Poinsettia plants annually.
Myth: The Christmas Poinsettia is toxic.
Fact: The Christmas Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is the most widely tested consumer plant on the market.
Myth: Ingesting the Christmas Poinsettia causes vomiting, diarrhea, and even death due to toxins entering the bloodstream.
Fact: Both American and European Mistletoe (Phoradendron and Viscum, respectively) are toxic.
Fact: Ingestion of anything alien to the digestive system may cause upset stomach.
The Christmas Poinsettia has been deemed highly toxic by folklore. This may be due to misidentification with Mistletoe. Experiments performed by Ohio State University have proved that all parts of the poinsettia are non-toxic to both humans and pets. As with any non-food product, the Christmas Poinsettia is not meant to be ingested and can cause an upset stomach if it is.
Mistletoe, unfortunately, is toxic. If you believe that your child or pet has eaten any part of the plant, call your doctor or veterinarian immediately. The berries are the most toxic part of the plant, where 3 or more berries can be lethal to a child. Yet, the leaves are also toxic. If you have any questions about mistletoe or identifying it, you can call the Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.