Q: I have an 11 month old daughter. We are looking forward to celebrating her first Christmas. One of my baby care books said that real Christmas trees are poisonous and it is safer to get a fake tree. I would love to know if this is true since my daughter puts EVERYTHING into her mouth! Is it true or just an old wives tale?
A: I have searched several poisonous plant databases and can find no mention there of the plants commonly used for Christmas trees. You possibly could be thinking of hemlock – but the hemlock tree (Tsuga canadensis) is not the same as poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) which looks like a tall green weed.
Poinsettia was once thought to be poisonous but that turned out to be truthless folklore. Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum), is sometimes sold as a holiday houseplant and DOES have non-edible, poisonous, round bright orange or yellow fruits. Paperwhite narcissus leaves are also poisonous. Red holly berries are mildly poisonous.
Houseplants such as anthurium, caladium, dieffenbachia and philodendron have poisonous leaves, so keep them out of her reach.
With just a few precautions, you can enjoy the holidays without worry!
For more information, Poisonous Plants