Poinsettia Myth

1 decade 2 years 10 months ago Tuesday, December 13 2005 Dec 13, 2005 Tuesday, December 13, 2005 5:42:11 PM CST December 13, 2005 in News

Many people think the festive plants are poisonous, despite numerous studies that prove they're not.  So, why the rumor?  No one knows why or where the myth.

"If you went to a busy shopping mall where there would be a very wide, democratic mix of people, and ask them whether the Poinsettia was poisonous or not, the positive response you would get, I bet you it would be about 50%," says MU horticulture professor David Trinklein.

One study says a 50-pound child could eat 500 Poinsettia leaves without any stomach trouble.  In fact,  Poinsettias are so harmless, only people with latex allergies might want to be cautious. The plant's broken leaves ooze latex, so allergic people should avoid touching the liquid.  Nursery owner Bill Regan is glad  the myth doesn't scare away many customers.

"Some people say, 'Oh, they're poisonous,' but you just talk to them and tell them that they aren't," Regan says.

So, it's safe to stock up on Poinsettias.  Despite the poison rumor, they're the most popular potted, flowering plant in the U.S.

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