Holly Plants Poisonous to Kids and Pets

I have small children and pets. I want to decorate for Christmas with holly leaves and berries. Is it safe to have holly and berries around or could it hurt the little ones?

Hi Greta,

Holly plants and berries are extremely poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets. and should be kept away from small children and pets.

Red and green Holly Plant

Holly and Berries

The red berries are very attractive to children and pets. They can eat a few with mild consequences, but eating any more causes serious consequences. Eating 20 or more of these berries can even result in death if the child or pet is quite small. Every part of the plant is poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants [Paperback]is an excellent reference to keep around if you have young children and pets., including the bark, leaves, and seeds.The poison is theobromine and it is related to caffeine. Theobromine is also found in chocolate but at a much lower concentration. Try to find some safer plants like red kalanchoes, bromeliads, and even poinsettias.