It’s that time of the year again: the holiday season is upon us! For many, this means bringing plants and decorations into homes. While these festive additions can add warmth and cheer to your space, some common Christmas decorative plants may be more of a risk than you might expect. In this blog post, we’ll explore the health risks these commonly used plants and party decorations can pose, as well as ways to avoid them to have a safe holiday.

Beware of these 4 decorative plants to have a great holiday season.

Holly :

Holly is a popular and traditional decorative Christmas plant, but it is important to know that ingesting holly by a pet or child can be poisonous and very dangerous. Holly toxins are found in all parts of the plant, including flowers, leaves, berries, and roots. The most toxic part is the berry, which contains saponins, cyanogenic glycosides and tannins that can cause stomach upset and vomiting.

In some cases, ingesting holly can lead to seizures or coma due to dehydration. It is recommended that parents keep holly out of reach of children and pets whenever possible. In case of ingestion by an animal or a child, it is advisable to contact the poison control center (veterinarian for your animal) as soon as possible to ensure their safety. Also, it is recommended to wear protective gloves when handling holly, as the stems are sharp enough to cut the skin and the sap is known to cause skin irritation in some cases.

The mistletoe :

Mistletoe is a plant also used as a decoration during the Christmas period. However, it is also recommended to note that all parts of mistletoe are poisonous and contain toxins such as phoratoxin, viscumin and tyramine, which can cause severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, decreased blood pressure and even death if ingested in sufficient quantities.

Although the risk of mistletoe poisoning is relatively low since its berries must be consumed in large quantities to cause serious harm, it is still important to take precautions when decorating with this plant.

Pet owners should ensure that their pets stay away from mistletoe, as cats and dogs are more likely to chew on the plants due to their taste and texture. Additionally, parents are advised to supervise young children when decorating with mistletoe, as curious toddlers may put the berries in their mouths without realizing they are dangerous.

The poinsettia:

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a popular Christmas ornamental, widely used to add color and cheer to homes during the holidays. But it’s important to know that the poinsettia is potentially poisonous if ingested by a pet or child. Poinsettia leaves contain a milky white sap that is known to cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction to touch. Some people may experience itching or swelling after coming into contact with poinsettia sap. Severe cases of contact dermatitis may require medical attention

Poinsettias generally do not pose serious health risks to humans, but they can cause minor stomach upset if ingested in large quantities. Pets may experience more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and skin irritation, after ingesting poinsettias. That’s why it’s best to keep children and pets away from these plants as much as possible.

The amaryllis:

Yes, amaryllis is toxic too! All parts of the amaryllis plant, including the bulbs, flowers, and leaves, contain toxins that can be extremely harmful when eaten. Ingestion of the plant can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

In addition to gastrointestinal issues, amaryllis toxins can also cause neurological symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, and confusion. Death can thus occur if sufficiently large quantities of amaryllis are ingested.

Because of this potential danger, it is important to always be careful with plants containing these toxins. If children or pets are likely to come into contact with an amaryllis plant, make sure they know not to eat any part of it. Make sure that all parts of the plant are properly secured or kept out of reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.