Are Poinsettia Plants Poisonous?

My Mom insists poinsettia plants are poisonous and I shouldn’t have them in my house because I have pets & kids. I told her they were not poisonous. Who’s right?

Hi Barbara,

Red Poinsettia Plant
Poinsettia Plant

You are right. All of the experts agree that Poinsettia Plants are not poisonous. Here’s what the University of Illinois Extension says:

“For nearly eight decades, this rumor has continued to circulate because of one unfounded story in 1919: that an Army officer’s two year old child allegedly died after eating a poinsettia leaf. While never proved by medical or scientific fact and later determined to be hearsay, the story has taken on a life of its own. But, the defenders of the poinsettia have pulled out all the scientific stops to allay public fears.

The Society of American Florists (SAF) worked with the Academic Faculty of Entomology at Ohio State University (OSU) to exhaustively test all parts of the poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima). OSU researchers established that rats exhibited no adverse effects – no mortality, no symptoms of toxicity, and no changes in dietary intake or general behavior patterns – when given even unusually large amounts of different poinsettia parts. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) accepts animal tests as valid indicators whether any product or natural growth is harmful to human health.

According to the American Medical Association’s Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, other than occasional cases of vomiting, ingestion of the poinsettia plant has been found to produce no effect.”