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Alternative names

Poisoning from contact with the sap of the plant or the eating of it.

Poisonous Ingredient

Often thought to be toxic, but toxicity rarely occurs.

Where Found

  • leaves, stem, sap of the poinsettia plant


  • skin
    • irritation
    • blistering
  • gastrointestinal
    • abdominal pain
    • nausea and/or vomiting
    • diarrhea

Home Treatment

Wash off skin if irritation is felt from exposure. Dilute with water or milk for ingestion. Contact Poison Control Center for appropriate treatment.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the plant
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring the plant with you to the emergency room.

  • Eating this plant does not usually result in a trip to the hospital.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • induce vomiting
  • gastric lavage
  • monitor vital signs

Expectations (prognosis)

Very good. This plant is not considered very toxic.

Update Date: 2/23/2004

Cherlin Johnson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT