Decorating for the Holidays? Watch Out for These!


• Mistletoe: All parts of the plant are toxic if consumed. The white berries seem to be the most attractive to kids or pets. Consumption of mistletoe can cause blurred vision, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, changes in blood pressure and death.
• Poinsettia: These are not toxic, but they can be an irritant, if consumed. Symptoms include a mouth rash and upset stomach in children or pets who eat too many leaves or bracts. The milky sap in the plant can irritate the skin. Pets and kids can be attracted by the colorful foliage.
• Holly berries (Ilex spp.): The bright red berries of this plant are especially attractive to small children. Nibbling on 1 or 2 berries will not cause any symptoms. Swallowing more, however, can result in nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea. These are also toxic to cats and dogs.
• Amaryllis: The bulb has the toxin Lycorine in it. One would have to eat a lot of bulbs to become sick from it. For the dogs or cats who eat a lot of bulbs, one would see diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
• Brazilian pepper: Because it is related to poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac, contact with its sap can cause allergic skin reactions. The fruits can result in irritation of the throat, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, and vomiting in people. This is a noxious weed that is very invasive – it should be removed from any property.
• Pyracantha (Pyracantha spp.): If large amounts of berries are eaten, a stomach-ache may result, however most experts say it is safe for decorating use during the holidays.
• Rosary Pea (Abrus precatorius): In India and Africa the plant has been used as both a human and an animal poison. There is no harm if the beans are swallowed whole, but can be life-threatening if they are chewed prior to swallowing. Vomiting and stomach-ache occurs within a few hours after swallowing. This is followed by bloody diarrhea.

Also toxic to pets – Lilies and Daffodils

Lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets. In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat’s system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia, and convulsions. Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.

Christmas Cactus – Is safe. However, fibrous plant material when eaten can cause irritation to the stomach and intestine, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.

The Christmas Tree – The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet’s mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture.

Additionally, the water used to nourish Christmas trees can be noxious. Bacteria, molds, and fertilizers can cause your pet to become extremely sick with only a few laps.


Posted: December 15, 2015

Category: Agriculture, Home Landscapes, Work & Life
Tags: Children, Decorations, Holiday-plants, Pets, Toxic

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