poinsettias Anne of Green GardensIf you’ve never had a poinsettia in your home because you thought they were poisonous, I have good news! No one has ever died from eating or being exposed to poinsettia plants.  And, there is a study to back it up (American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 1996). The study found that most people exposed to the plant didn’t even need medical treatment.

So, not only are poinsettias NOT poisonous, these poor plants are the hapless victims of an urban legend! This legend dates back to 1916, when someone reported that a small child died from chewing on a poinsettia leaf. For whatever reason, the rumor has lived on and caused millions of Americans to repeat it each year. Luckily, it hasn’t stopped the poinsettia from being the most popular holiday plant in the United States.

According to the Society of American Florists (SAF), the poinsettia is the most widely tested consumer plant on the market today and research has proven the plant is not toxic. Although poinsettias aren’t poisonous, it’s never a good idea for anyone to chew on plant leaves.  As with most houseplants, it’s good to keep them away from dogs/cats/rabbits and small children who may like to chew on decorative greenery. Poinsettias are in the Euphorbia genera, and like their relatives release a sticky white sap that can cause skin irritation in some people.

In closing, it’s time to celebrate! Get thee to a nursery quickly to remedy this Bah Humbug spirit in your house.  Learn more about the history of this plant in Poinsettias, a History. If you need information on how to take care of your poinsettia plant, read Poinsettia Care.