The widespread belief that poinsettias are poisonous is a misconception. Scientific evidence demonstrating the poinsettia’s safety is ample and well documented.
Studies conducted by The Ohio State University in cooperation with the Society of American Florists concluded that no toxicity was evident at experimental ingestion levels far exceeding those likely to occur in a home environment. In fact, the POISINDEX Information Service, the primary information resource used by most poison control centers, states that a 50-pound child would have to ingest over 500 poinsettia bracts to surpass experimental doses. Yet even at this high level, no toxicity was demonstrated.
As with all ornamental plants, poinsettias are not intended for human or animal consumption. Individuals with a sensitivity to latex – the milky fluid found in cut poinsettias and other plants – may experience allergic reactions in the form of a rash or irritation that develops when the skin is exposed to the latex. This has been observed to occur only with people who are allergic to latex and products made from this material. However, the poinsettia has been demonstrated to be a safe plant. In fact, in 1992, the poinsettia was included on the list of houseplants most helpful in removing pollutants from indoor air. So, not only is the poinsettia a safe and beautiful addition to your holiday decor, it can even help keep your indoor air clean!
The ASPCA Poison Control web page verifies that poinsettias are not poisonous to either dogs or cats; however, just like in humans, consumption may cause vomiting.