DESPITE THE MYTH, OHIO STATE STUDY PROVED POINSETTIAS NOT TOXIC
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Despite a stubborn myth that refuses to
die, research at Ohio State University has proven that
poinsettias are not poisonous to humans and are safe to keep in
Poinsettias have long been a colorful holiday tradition, but
their cheerful image has been sullied somewhat by fears that
children or others may be at risk if they accidentally eat parts
of the plant.
They probably taste awful, and arent easily digested, but
poinsettias arent poisonous, said Claudio Pasian, assistant
professor of horticulture and crop science at Ohio State.
Back in 1971, researchers at Ohio State tested the toxicity
of poinsettias by adding the plants to a liquid solution, mixing
it all in a blender, and then feeding the concoction to 55 rats.
The researchers, writing in the journal Toxicon, concluded
that rats, when given extraordinarily high doses of various
portions of the poinsettia, show no mortality, no symptoms of
toxicity nor any changes in dietary intake or general behavior
Still, the myth persists among many people. Sometimes
myths are that way, Pasian said. Reality is irrelevant to
whether the myths continue.
But poinsettias remain popular -- if misunderstood --
especially during the holiday season. While they are associated
with Christmas, poinsettias can remain in bloom into spring if
they are properly cared for. One way people can learn how to
care for poinsettias -- or any other plant -- is to visit the OSU
Factsheet Database on the World Wide Web at http://www.hcs.ohio-
The factsheet database is a search engine that enables
professional and amateur gardeners to find information on nearly
any plant or crop they might be growing.
Were similar to search engines like Yahoo or Alta Vista,
but we focus on information directly relating to the care and
growth of plants, said Tim Rhodus, associate professor of
horticulture and crop science at Ohio State and Web manager of
If you search for apple in our database, youll never get
linked to Apple computer sites.
The database indexes more than 40,000 plant-related pages
from land grant universities and governmental institutions across
the United States and Canada.
A search of the word poinsettia turns up 121 pages on
poinsettia care, diseases, history and styles, among other
If you want to know about poinsettias or other plants, the
Factsheet Database makes it easy to find what youre looking
for, Rhodus said.
Contact: Claudio Pasian, (614) 292-9941
Tim Rhodus, (614) 292-3871
Written by Jeff Grabmeier, (614) 292-8457; Grabmeier.email@example.com