Holiday plants pose danger to children

By Meggan Gray – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – It's time to bring out all the holiday decorations at home.  And although it can all be very festive and pretty, holiday decorations can also pose a danger to small children. Here are some reminders from the Mississippi State Extension Service about plants that can be potential hazards to children.

Poisonous Holiday Plants

Holiday decorations often include flowers and shrubs. Unfortunately, while these items are pretty, many of the most popular are toxic to humans or pets. Here is a list of popular holiday plants and their toxic effects:

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum belladonna) Eating the bulb can cause abdominal pain.

Christmas Trees  Ingesting the bark can cause abdominal pain. The sap may cause an itchy skin rash. Christmas trees are a bigger fire danger than poison danger.

Holly Berries (Ilex species) Eating 1 or 2 berries should be OK. More than 2 berries can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Minnesota Poison Control says 20 berries can kill a child.

Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) Ingestion can cause vomiting, skin redness, drowsiness or restlessness, and hallucinations. Seizures are possible, but rare.

Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.) All parts of mistletoe contain toxins. If ingested, mistletoe can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. According to California Poison Control, one to two berries or leaves eaten by a child will NOT result in serious harm. If you hang mistletoe in your home during the holidays, place it in a piece of netting or a plastic sandwich bag to prevent leaves and berries from dropping to the ground where kids and pets can eat them.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)   Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias have been considered safe for the holiday home since the 1970's. Eating several leaves can give you a stomach ache, and the sap can cause skin rash. Wash away sap with soap and water.

Pyracantha (Pyracantha spp.)You can eat a large number of berries before getting a stomach ache. Like the poinsettia, this plant is considered safe by experts.

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