Potentially dangerous holiday plants

posted: by: WRAH Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Holly is used in making wreaths or decorating mantles. It is the berries that are toxic. The severity of the symptoms usually correlates with how many berries are eaten. The symptoms seen after ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

• Mistletoe is customarily hung in doorways so that when two people are under the mistletoe at the same time they are obliged to kiss. The berries are toxic but some sources say that the leaves and stem are more toxic than the berries. Either way, it is important to make sure that these are not ingested. This plant can cause significant vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, decreased heart rate, erratic behavior, sudden collapse and even death.

• Amaryllis (with red or red and white flowers) is very popular during the holiday season. It is the flower that is most toxic. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, depressed appetite, excessive salivation, tremors, and sometimes abdominal pain.

• Poinsettia is probably the most frequently seen holiday plant. It is the sap from the leaves (not the flower) that can be irritating if ingested. If enough is eaten it can cause vomiting but it is basically non-toxic.

• Christmas cactus only blooms around Christmas time and is generally used for center pieces. This plant is mainly toxic only in large quantities. Vomiting and diarrhea sometimes with blood and depression are the typical symptoms.

• Christmas rose is a plant with a white flower. The entire plant is toxic. The most commonly seen symptoms are diarrhea with blood, abdominal pain, vomiting, and delirium.

• Jerusalem cherry is a plant that has orange and red berries and is typically used as a centerpiece. These berries are extremely toxic especially in the green and yellow states. Ingestion results in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, mouth ulcers, shock, and even death.

• Pine trees are not themselves poisonous, however the pine needles can be enticing especially for cats and their sharp ends can injure the mucous membranes in their mouth or, become logged in their stomach or intestines and possible cause a blockage or constipation.