The Truth about the Dangers of Poinsettias
Are poinsettias really dangerous? You’ve no doubt heard the rumors that poinsettias are deadly when ingested. Those with pets and children are constantly warned not to buy poinsettias during the holiday season. With Christmas quickly approaching, you might be wondering if there any truths to the myth and whether or not you should keep the plant in your home this holiday season.
Let’s Debunk the Myth
Poinsettias are clearly not edible plants, but can ingesting them in small amounts really be deadly? A study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine reviewed the records of over 20,000 cases where poinsettias were ingested, and no fatalities occurred. In fact, in most cases the subjects developed no symptoms or negative side effects at all.
Obviously, poinsettias shouldn’t be eaten; but even if they are, gastrointestinal upset is likely the only negative side effect that will occur. A human would need to consume large quantities of the plant in order for it to cause serious damage or death. How then does such a myth persist?
The Power of the Urban Legend
It’s unclear why most consumers fear poinsettias, but it seems like this myth is here to stay. The repeated reinforcement of the idea that poinsettias are deadly is simply ingrained in the brains of many adults, so any new information is unlikely to change their minds.
Because the myth is so prevalent, you probably don’t want to decorate your home with poinsettias if you will have young children visiting during the holidays or if you have pets in your home. You are likely to cause parents significant worry and animal lovers will label you as cruel and negligent. To make things easier, simply skip the poinsettias or keep them out of reach of children and animals. If you really want to decorate with poinsettias, use artificial décor or make sure you explain the truth about poinsettias to anyone who brings it up. This will put everyone’s mind at ease.