Poinsettias and mistletoe add color and interest to homes during the holiday season, providing a festive environment. What you may not know is that many of those traditional decorative plants can cause a rash at the very least and some are highly toxic to children and pets.

It will be safer to purchase imitation plants with which to decorate. If you absolutely have to decorate with live plants, be sure they’re well above reach of children, dogs, cats, ferrets, birds and other pets. The following are some of the most popular plants for decorating during the holidays that you should know about.


The berries of the holly plant resemble candies to children and a plaything to pets, but eating the berries can be fatal.


The big, beautiful blooms of amaryllis are a sight to behold and popular for decorating and gift giving. The bulbs and leaves are both toxic and can result in abdominal pain, convulsions and irregular heartbeat.

Calla Lily

The tubers are the primary danger. Ingesting them causes nausea and vomiting, along with convulsions and paralysis.


Available in multiple colors, the tubers can result in nausea and vomiting, convulsions and paralysis.

Christmas Cactus

None of the cacti sold around the holidays is poisonous, but it causes nausea and vomiting in cats.

Christmas Trees

While cedars, firs and pines are only mildly toxic, ingesting the needles can result in perorations to the intestinal system. It’s unlikely that kids or pets would try to eat the needles, but it’s something of which you need to be aware.

Jerusalem Cherry

The plant is a species of nightshade and the fruits are poisonous. The fruits resemble cherry tomatoes, which make them attractive to children and pets, but they’re extremely dangerous to people, dogs, cats and birds.


It may be fun to kiss under the mistletoe, but the plant produces a deadly toxin. Ingesting any part of the plant can cause nausea and abdominal pain, along with blurred vision and changes in blood pressure.

Peace Lily

The large white flowers of the peace lily beautiful, but they’re toxic to people if eaten and poisonous to dogs and cats.


The brightly colored holiday flower isn’t poisonous, but the sap can cause varying degrees of irritation to the mouth, esophagus and stomach, resulting in nausea and vomiting.

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