Poinsettias are popularly, though incorrectly, said to be toxic to humans and another animals. This misconception was spread by a 1919 urban legend of a two-year-old child dying after consuming a poinsettia leaf. In 1944, the plant was included in H. R. Arnold’s book Poisonous Plants of Hawaii on this premise. Though Arnold later admitted that the story was hearsay and that poinsettias were not proven to be poisonous, the plant was thus thought deadly. In 1970 the US Food and Drug Administration published a newsletter stating erroneously that “one poinsettia leaf can kill a child”, and in 1980 they were prohibited from nursing homes in a county in North Carolina due to this supposed toxicity.

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