Painted leaf

Alternative names 
Christmas flower; Lobster plant; Poinsettia

Poisoning from contact with the sap of the plant or the eating of it.

Poisonous Ingredient
Often thought to be toxic, but toxicity rarely occurs.

Where Found

  • leaves, stem, sap of the poinsettia plant


  • skin       o irritation       o blistering  
  • gastrointestinal       o abdominal pain       o nausea and/or vomiting       o diarrhea

Home Treatment
Wash off skin if irritation is felt from exposure. Dilute with water or milk for ingestion. Contact Poison Control Center for appropriate treatment.

Before Calling Emergency
Determine the following information:

  • the patient’s age, weight, and condition  
  • the name of the plant  
  • the time it was swallowed  
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Bring the plant with you to the emergency room.

  • Eating this plant does not usually result in a trip to the hospital.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:

  • induce vomiting  
  • gastric lavage  
  • monitor vital signs

Expectations (prognosis)

Very good. This plant is not considered very toxic.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.