With the holidays quickly approaching, you’ve probably seen an increase in the presence of poinsettias around you. Whether they are in your local coffee shop, office building or church, poinsettias are a sign of the Christmas Season. Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America where they are called “Flores de Noche Buena” meaning Flowers of the Holy Night. The star shape of the leaves is said to represent the Star of Bethlehem and they are very popular and in high demand in florist shops come Christmas time. And our shop is no different!
But aren’t poinsettia’s toxic?
There is a very common misconception that poinsettias are toxic. This is absolutely untrue. In 1998 Ohio State University issued the results of a study that showed that poinsettias were not toxic to humans and animals. The study tested all parts of the plant including leaves and sap. In fact, POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control centers, states that a child would need to ingest somewhere around 500-600 leaves before they even exceed the doses that showed NO toxicity in the research. If you live in a household with curious little ones, keeping the poinsettia out of reach is the best precaution you can take.
So they aren’t toxic to humans, but what about pets?
Again, poinsettias are not toxic to animals as reported in the Ohio State University study. The ASPCA states on their website that while poinsettia’s may cause mouth and stomach irritation in pets, the actually toxicity is highly overrated. The irritation of the stomach could lead to vomiting but it is not deadly. If your pet does get into a poinsettia it is important to wash the sap off immediately to prevent further ingestion. Pet owners should contact a veterinarian if the sap gets into the eyes or if the symptoms don’t resolve within a few minutes.
What if I’m allergic to Latex?
As long as the poinsettia’s leaves are not broken and the plant is not damaged you should be fine. The poinsettia’s circulation system does contain latex which is only accessed when you break the leaves. The American Latex Allergy Association states that a person would have to have significant contact with the latex of poinsettia plant to develop an allergic reaction. A drop of latex from the plant that is easily wiped off would be unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. With that said, if you are allergic to latex, common sense precautions should be observed when handling poinsettias.
Hopefully debunking some of the common myths will put you at ease and even encourage you to place a poinsettia order at your local florist. We have several arrangement options available on our website for you to choose from. What better gift to bring your holiday hostess then a beautiful poinsettia arrangement. Happy Holidays!
Visit our website for more tips and myth-busters about Poinsettias, and other tips! God’s Garden Treasures