There is considerable controversy concerning the toxicity of poinsettias. To be on the safe side, keep them out of the reach of children and pets. The milky latex is known to cause skin rashes on some people.
Thanks to Joyce Mizock, Executive Assistant at Paul Ecke Ranch who sent us the following note:
I happened to see your homepage and note that you include poinsettias on a list of plants that are poisonous to animals. They, in fact, are not. Check out the POISINDEX Information Service. Poinsettias are a member of the euphorbia family some of which are poisonous, but not poinsettias. If you google poinsettias + poisonous you will get about 100 websites that refer you to scientific proof that poisonous poinsettias are a myth.
We are the world’s largest producer of poinsettias here at our Ranch, and in years past when we had cattle and grew in the fields instead of greenhouses, they would sometimes get into the area where we had poinsettias growing. Even though poinsettias taste horrible, they would eat the stalks with no ill effect. Occasionally rabbits get into our greenhouses now and nibble at the stock plants. Again, no dead rabbits.
A number of universities have done studies (Ohio State University for one) where they fed mice large quantities of poinsettia leaves. They only got more mice from the experiment (and none of them were dead).
Brian and Jane Pinkerton
29343 Galahad Crescent
Canada V4X 2E4