By Sally Cunningham

As a lifelong cat lover and protector, I know that people worry about what gift plants could hurt Kitty. (Lilies are extremely dangerous, leading to kidney failure for example. Mistletoe and some other berries are very poisonous.)

Poinsettias are not toxic!

If you wonder what to give your gardening friend, a surefire present–guaranteed to be popular–is a gift certificate

The myth started way back when a child was ill, and they blamed the plant. (It was probably from Auntie’s chicken soup or egg salad!) But the story spread about these plants, and greatly damaged a valuable greenhouse crop. Agriculture/horticulture schools and industry studies have clearly established that Poinsettias do not make people or pets sick after chewing some, although the plants are not edible.  (A few people get some skin rash if exposed to much of the sap.) 

Always be careful what you bring into the house, and observe pet behavior with whatever is new, but…Enjoy a poinsettia (or six) this season!

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Sally Cunningham is a gardening and landscape expert from WNY. She is known for many years on Channel 4 (WIVB-TV), and writes regularly for The Buffalo News and Buffalo Spree magazine. Her most recent book, Buffalo-Style Gardensdefines and praises the wonderful private gardens of our region, with design and gardening tips throughout. (Co-author Jim Charlier; St. Lynn’s Press.) It is available at Barnes & Nobel, The Bookworm, Talking Leaves, and some area gift stores and garden centers.) www.buffalostylegardens.com