OK, how many times have you heard people say something like this? “Be sure to keep poinsettias away from children and pets, because they might eat the leaves and get poisoned.”
Poinsettia or Poison? Hold Me, I’m Scared!
Poinsettias are NOT poisonous. The milky sap might not look appetizing (which is why very few sentient people would actually eat the leaves), but it won’t kill you. In fact, according to Poinsettias: Myth & Legend by Christine Anderson & Terry Tischer, you could eat 500 leaves and the worst you would suffer is a tummy ache. That’s nothing compared to the suffering of the poor plant that donated the leaves.
Look, I’m not suggesting adding poinsettia leaves to your mesclun salad, but there are far more toxic plants around your house and garden (dieffenbachia, angel’s trumpet, Chinaberry, castor bean, mountain laurel, rhododendron, hydrangea, Japanese yew, oleander) and you don’t give those a second thought.
No one has ever died from eating a poinsettia. The KGB has never bumped off an enemy agent by giving him a poinsettia. So stop spreading this stupid myth! And while you’re at it, stop repeating that Tiger Woods was raised by tigers in the woods! (He was raised by a very nice panda.)