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Holly Berries and Mistletoe Can Be Toxic

While poinsettias have an undeserved reputation for being poisonous, as you’d have to eat a few hundred poinsettia leaves to get sick, an expert says two other traditional holiday plants are toxic. Registered nurse Tammy Noble, at the Iowa Poison Control Center, says mistletoe can be dangerous if consumed by people or pets, and also the red berries in holly should never be eaten.

Noble says the symptoms can show up quite rapidly and may last for 24 hours or more.

On the subject of berries, mistletoe’s white berries can also be toxic, and while sprigs of the plant are often placed above doorways to promote kissing, Noble says the entire plant should be avoided.

If you have questions or concerns, call the Sioux City-based Iowa Poison Control Center anytime at 1-800-222-1222.

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