We’re all ready for some holiday cheer, but before you add that final live touch to your decorating you may want to consider; Pretty or Poison? Who will suffer from ingesting this plant-people or pets? Lets take a look at a few of the most common live plants that we bring into our homes for the holidays.
Here’s the biggy- your live Christmas tree! Although not really poisonous, if it is eaten, the needles can do some serious damage to your gastrointestinal track. The sap can cause skin irritation. The real danger comes from any fire retardants sprayed on the tree.
The Poinsettia gets a bad rap. Eating a few leaves will make you ill, but not kill you. The sap will make you itch and stain your tablecloth. It is best to keep away from your cat if she has a habit of eating plants to keep her from getting sick and ruining your rug.
Holly is a poisonous plant, both the leaves and the berries. Because of it’s brightly colored berries, it is an attraction for children and pets. Keep this holiday decoration up high and out of reach of the wee ones.
There is something wondrously fun about getting a bulb and watching the plants grow and flower from it. But beware; the bulbs of the Amaryllis and Daffodil are poisonous if eaten. Keep this away from your dog, it’s not a toy. Pot the bulb as soon as you can to keep temptation at bay and to start the growth progress.
This flowering plant is one of my favorites. You will start to see them around Christmas through Easter. They are most popular at Valentines Day. The plant should be kept away from your pets; if they chew on the stems and leaves it will cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions and, if enough is eaten, paralysis.
Another holiday favorite is the Christmas Cactus. Not poisonous to us, but it will make your cat sick!
Not as common as some of the other holiday plants, the Jerusalem Cherry is a nice addition to the decorations with it’s bright red fruit. For humans the fruit will cause vomiting, but for cats, dogs and some birds, the fruit is toxic.
And finally that one plant we all want hanging in the door way so a kiss can be stolen, is the favorite Mistletoe. All parts of the mistletoe plant are poisonous, not just the berries. Eating this plant can cause blurred vision, nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhea, blood pressure changes and even death. So, lets only kiss under the Mistletoe, and don’t nibble on the plant.
We all want to have our homes beautifully decorated for the holidays, but remember to be safe too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.
Victoria LK Williams