Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima) Exposures Have Good Outcomes… Just as we Thought

  • John Aronis
  • Bruce Buchanan
  • Timothy Jacobsen
  • Edward Krenzelok
  • Foster Provost

The poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) is a much-maligned plant which is thought by the public and some health professionals to be extremely toxic.  Despite pronouncements by public health officials to the contrary, the poinsettia continues to be recognized as a poisonous plant.  To determine if there was any validity to the toxicity claims, 849,575 plant exposures reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers were electronically analyzed.  Poinsettia exposures accounted for 22,793 cases and formed the subset that was analyzed to critically evaluate the morbidity and mortality associated with poinsettia exposures.  There were no fatalities among all poinsettia exposures and 98.9% were accidental in nature, with 93.3% involving children.  The majority of exposed patients (96.1%) were not treated in a health care facility and 92.4% did not develop any toxicity related to their exposure to the poinsettia.  Most patients do not require any type of therapy and can be treated without referral to a health care facility.