December 2015 Edition
Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you go… The fall color has now given way to the bright decorative colors of red, green, and white. Our DVGC poinsettia sale comes at just the right time of year.
This brings up the seasonal subject of plant toxicity. Poinsettias are beautiful and popular at this time of the year. The poinsettia is not a deadly poisonous plant. If ingested, it can irritate the mouth and stomach, sometimes resulting in gastrointestinal discomfort. The sap may cause a poison ivy-like blistering on the skin unless it is washed off right away.
Pets and people may differ in which plants are toxic, and to what degree. It is best to place poinsettias, and other holiday plants, out of the reach of children and curious pets. Several of our favorite holiday plants should not be eaten, yet often they are not a serious threat in small quantities.
Plants safe for everyone:
- Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii)
- African Violet (Saintpaulia)
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
- Gardenia (Gardenia ‘Radicans’)
Low level toxicity if eaten:
- Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) – all plant parts; minor skin irritation
- Jerusalem Cherry or Christmas Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum) – berries or leaves
- Holly (Ilex) – bright red berries in large amounts are toxic
Toxic only if large quantities are eaten:
- Mistletoe (Phoradendron serotinum) – foliage or white berries
- Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) – bulb is toxic if ingested
- Daffodils (Narcissus) – bulb is toxic; contact dermatitis severe when handling this plant
- Cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) – rhizomes are the poisonous part of the plant; minor skin irritation
- Hydrangea – leaves, bark and flower buds
- Azalea (Rhododendron) – leaves highly toxic; may be fatal if eaten
- English Yew (Taxus buccata) – fruit (seeds) and foliage are fatally poisonous if ingested.
- Not to be confused with the Yew Pine (Podocarpus macrophyllus) which may produce berries that have low toxicity if eaten.
- Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) – leaves, seeds, and flowers
- Larkspur (Delphinium) – all parts
- Oleander (Nerium oleander) – all parts
Some of the deadliest plants to avoid eating:
December garden chores
None! Enjoy the holidays by harvesting your winter vegetables, making garden gifts like culinary herb pots, flower baskets and natural wreaths, then planning for your January pruning and bare root planting. If you didn’t quite get all your Spring blooming bulbs in the ground, don’t wait, plant them now!
contact Marilyn’s Garden Design.