Despite its “poisonous” reputation, poinsettias are no more toxic than many common plants in our environment. Can you get sick if you eat too much? Sure. A 50lb child would need to consume more than 500 poinsettia leaves to reach potentially toxic levels and no deaths have been documented from consuming too many poinsettia leaves.
Our 50lb child may get queasy or throw up after eating, say, a half-dozen poinsettia leaves—but not much more will happen. Have you ever tasted a poinsettia leaf? They taste awful so it is unlikely many would be consumed. The plants may cause drooling, vomiting or diarrhea in cats and dogs but medical treatment is rarely necessary. To be safe keep poinsettias out of the reach of pets and young children. The more common danger is that they pull the plant onto the floor.
[Would you like to know how to keep your poinsettia’s red for months after Christmas? Look for the article “Care of Poinsettias After Christmas” in the Garden Center section of this web site under Bedding and Potted Plants.]