Can the sap in poinsettias cause allergic reaction?

December 24, 2009|By Ellen Nibali | Special to The Baltimore Sun

Question:I was told today that the latex sap in Poinsettias can cause a severe allergic reaction. Is that true?

Answer:Poinsettia is in the "Euphorbia" family of plants. Many euphorbias are houseplants or outside ornamental plants and have a chemical in their sap which irritates skin or eyes on contact and should not be eaten. Gloves are recommended when pruning them. Happily, poinsettias are an exception. They do not contain the main chemical irritant. Contacting its sap normally causes no effect, though ingesting it could cause vomiting. Remember, almost any plant can cause an allergic reaction to a susceptible individual.

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