Are your holiday plants safe for you and your children or pets?

Special plants are an integral part of numerous holiday traditions. Many holiday plants — with their cheery colors and wonderful scents — are delightful and magically conjure up the holiday season. But they can have a dark side.

To answer the question: “Are my holiday plants safe?” California Poison Control offers information about the most popular plants of the season.

Amaryllis is an exotic plant from tropical America and Africa has brilliant- colored flowers and green strap-shaped leaves. A stomach-ache can occur if the bulb is eaten.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.)
Amaryllis is an exotic plant from tropical America and Africa has brilliant- colored flowers and green strap-shaped leaves. A stomach-ache can occur if the bulb is eaten.

Christmas cactus’ arching, drooping branches are made up of flattened, scallop-edged, smooth, bright green, spineless joints. Rosy purplish, red flowers appear at Christmas time. This plant is considered non-toxic.

Christmas Cactus
Christmas cactus’ arching, drooping branches are made up of flattened, scallop-edged, smooth, bright green, spineless joints. Rosy purplish, red flowers appear at Christmas time. This plant is considered non-toxic.

Cedar trees have scale-like, closely oppressed, glandular leaves. Eating the bark can cause a stomach-ache. The sap may cause an itchy skin rash.

Christmas Trees (Cedar)
Cedar trees have scale-like, closely oppressed, glandular leaves. Eating the bark can cause a stomach-ache. The sap may cause an itchy skin rash.

Pine, spruce and fir trees are all needle-bearing, cone-producing trees. The needles can cause choking, but are non-toxic.

Christmas Trees (Pine, Spruce and Fir)
Pine, spruce and fir trees are all needle-bearing, cone-producing trees. The needles can cause choking, but are non-toxic.

Holly berries have bright red berries that are especially attractive to small children. Nibbling on one or two berries will not cause any symptoms. Swallowing more, however, can result in nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

Holly Berries (Ilex spp.) 
Holly berries have bright red berries that are especially attractive to small children. Nibbling on one or two berries will not cause any symptoms. Swallowing more, however, can result in nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea.

The Jerusalem cherry plant has bright orange and dark red berries. Swallowing this ornamental plant can result in vomiting, redness of the skin, drowsiness or restlessness and hallucinations. In rare cases, seizures may occur.

Jerusalem Cherry or Winter Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)
The Jerusalem cherry plant has bright orange and dark red berries. Swallowing this ornamental plant can result in vomiting, redness of the skin, drowsiness or restlessness, and hallucinations. In rare cases, seizures may occur.

Mistletoe has yellowish flowers, yellowish green leaves, and waxy, white berries. All parts of the plant contain toxic substances and if eaten can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. One to two berries or leaves eaten by a child will NOT result in serious harm. As a precaution when hanging mistletoe in your home, place it in a piece of netting or a plastic sandwich bag.

Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp.)
Mistletoe has yellowish flowers, yellowish green leaves, and waxy, white berries. All parts of the plant contain toxic substances and if eaten can cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. One to two berries or leaves eaten by a child will not result in serious harm. As a precaution when hanging mistletoe in your home, place it in a piece of netting or a plastic sandwich bag.

Poinsettia is a deciduous shrub with large, alternate leaves. The plant contains large brilliant red floral bracts in winter through spring. Eating many leaves may cause mild stomach upset. The sap from the plant may cause skin rash and should be washed off with soap and water. Contrary to earlier beliefs, poinsettias are safe in the home during the holidays.

Poinsettia (Euphorbia spp.)
Poinsettia is a deciduous shrub with large, alternate leaves. The plant contains large brilliant red floral bracts in winter through spring. Eating many leaves may cause mild stomach upset. The sap from the plant may cause skin rash and should be washed off with soap and water. Contrary to earlier beliefs, poinsettias are safe in the home during the holidays.

Pyracantha has oblong, shiny leaves, white flowers and a lot of berries during the winter season. This plant is often used in holiday center-piece decorations because of its showy ornamental appearance. If large amounts of berries are eaten, a stomach-ache may result. However, most experts say it is safe for decorating use during the holidays.

Pyracantha or Firethorn (Pyracantha spp.)
Pyracantha has oblong, shiny leaves, white flowers and a lot of berries during the winter season. This plant is often used in holiday center-piece decorations because of its showy ornamental appearance. If large amounts of berries are eaten, a stomach-ache may result. However, most experts say it is safe for decorating use during the holidays.

The jequirity bean, commonly used in Mexico, is often used in jewelry making because of its dark red color and black tipped end. There is no harm if the beans are swallowed whole but can be life-threatening if they are chewed prior to swallowing. Vomiting and stomachache occurs within a few hours after swallowing. This is followed by bloody diarrhea.

Rosary Pea or the Jequirity Bean (Abrus precatorius)
The jequirity bean, commonly used in Mexico, is often used in jewelry making because of its dark red color and black tipped end. There is no harm if the beans are swallowed whole but can be life-threatening if they are chewed prior to swallowing. Vomiting and stomachache occurs within a few hours after swallowing. This is followed by bloody diarrhea.

To be safe, always keep plants—the above, as well as others—out of reach of small children and pets.

If you have questions about the above plants or any other plants in your home, call California Poison Control at (800) 222-1222.

About CPCS
Call Poison Control at (800) 222-1222 (number is the same in all states) for questions about poison encounters. Trained pharmacists, nurses and other providers are available to help 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service is free, confidential and interpreters are available. Get weekly tips about safety by texting TIPS to 20121 for English or texting PUNTOS to 20121 for Spanish. Follow CPCS on Facebookand on Twitter @poisoninfo. CPCS is part of the University of California San Francisco School of Pharmacy and is responsible to the California Emergency Medical Services Authority.