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Market Haul

Market Haul: Poinsettias

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Bright red poinsettias signal that the holidays are approaching.

Fun fact: today — December 12 — is National Poinsettia Day!

Like Christmas music on the radio and sappy TV specials, these vibrant plants signal that the holiday season has arrived. This time of year, bright red poinsettias appear in store windows, home décor, and festive displays of all kinds.

Despite being synonymous with chilly December temperatures, more than half of the world's poinsettias are grown in sunny southern California. While poinsettias look like flowers, they are actually modified leaves, which, due to their star shape, are also known as Christmas Stars. Though red is by far the most common color for poinsettias, these beautiful plants are available in more than 100 varieties, including white, pink, and speckled.

Many people worry that poinsettias are poisonous, but these rumors are way overhyped. In reality, their toxicity is very, very low. According to POISINDEX, a system used by poison control centers across the country, a 50-pound child would have to eat more than 500 poinsettia leaves to even potentially ingest a dangerous dose. Plus, poinsettias don't taste very good, so it's unlikely that someone who eats a leaf by mistake would go back for more. If a child or pet (or curious adult…) does ingest a poinsettia they'll most likely be fine, but it's best to call poison control just to be safe.




Do you use poinsettias in your holiday decorations? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

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About the Author
Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon
Amy Gordon is a Wharton graduate who prefers flip flops to business suits. She writes about travel, food, wellness, and social consciousness. more
  • Patricia S. 1 year ago
    I keep my Christmas poinsettias in the house all winter and in the spring plant them in my garden. They become a thick, beautiful green shrub all summer long. Sadly the first hard frost kills them.
  • Garen C. 1 year ago
    I am nursing one back to health as we speak, someone was throwing one away so i rescued it. Haha.
  • Rebecca D. 1 year ago
    I buy 2 or 3 small poinsettias and after the holidays put them in my frosted bathroom window and plant them outside in April. They make beautiful plants in my garden and if I catch them in time (before 1st frost) I bring them in for the next season.
  • Christine G. 1 year ago
    Poinsettias can be overwintered here in the North from year to year for lasting blooms so there’s no need to repurchase every year if you make the effort. As for toxicity, it’s far from the only indoor plant that is so, Easter lilies and many others are also toxic. It’s up to a responsible owner to ensure the plant is out of reach of children, pets, as well as outdoor and farm animals. Just like predators can not be blamed for their natural instincts, your free range chickens actually need to be protected from them by an informed consciencious owner
  • Ashley L. 1 year ago
    I think more people need to know that these beauties shouldn't be tossed at the end of the xmas season, because they can last for years like any other plant. am I the only one who just learned that in the past couple of years?!
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