Poinsettia plants: Are they poisonous?

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Poinsettia plants: Are they poisonous?

Question

Are poinsettia plants poisonous?

Mimi
South Carolina

Answer

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia plants are not poisonous.

Contact with the sap of a poinsettia plant may cause a mild, itchy rash. If this happens, wash the affected area with soap and water and apply a cool compress to ease itching.

Eating the leaves or stems of a poinsettia plant may cause a mild stomachache, vomiting or diarrhea — but severe signs and symptoms are unlikely. If you find a child eating a poinsettia plant, clear his or her mouth and move the plant out of reach.

Of course, some people are more sensitive to poinsettia plants than are others. Reactions to poinsettia plants are more common among people who have latex allergies, for example, since latex and poinsettia plants share several proteins. In case of a severe reaction, seek prompt medical attention.

Last Updated: 2010-11-24
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