Pencil cactus

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In trying to move a cape honeysuckle from my very big pencil cactus, I got the milky sticky sap from the cactus - THIS IS A WARNING! Always wear gloves when working with the cactus! The sap caused lots of irritation to me, stings a lot! especially on mucuous membranes. I had to change my contact lenses and my eyes were watering and stinging for several hours. And yes, I had washed my hands thoroughly several times before touching my eyes! This stuff even got on icecubes that I took with my hands (again washed) from the bin - as I drank my iced water, my mouth and lips were stinging and hurting a lot! So, gardeners, beware the pencil cactus - it seeks revenge!
--
gloria - only the iguanas know for sure



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Its not a cactus and its not a pencil. It seeks revenge only on those who don't know that.
The plant is Euphorbia tirucalli.
Like all Euphorbia, it has a caustic white sap that can blister the skin.

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On Sat, 04 Dec 2004 18:38:33 GMT, "Cereus-validus..."

Would you consider "some" or maybe "most" Euphorbia?
It is Killer Poinsettia season again.
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May those who insist that the Poinsettia is not toxic rub the sap all over their bodies and see what happens!!!!!
All Euphorbia are toxic to some degree.
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I wouldn't rub an Opuntia biglovii all over my body, and as far as I know, they are not considered toxic.
poinsettias cost too much to try your experiment.
On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 00:49:50 GMT, "Cereus-validus..."

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On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 00:49:50 GMT, "Cereus-validus..."

Most people I know aren't allergic to poinsettia sap.
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What could be the error in your logic? Lets see........
Either you don't know many people or most attribute their allergic reaction to something else.
What other possibilities could there be?
Of course, there is that remote possibility you aren't telling the truth.
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The big question is why do so many people so desperately want the florist Poinsettia to be non-toxic?
What is their real motivation for making that claim?
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Cereus-validus... wrote:

Maybe to *sell* more poinsettias?
It seems reasonable to me; it's not like they are saying cigarettes are non-toxic (or that real butter is actually low-fat) so they can sell more.
Bob
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Real question is how could someone as knowledgeable as you usually seem to be on a few topics such as succulents refuse to believe the clear & definitive studies that prove you could feed poinsettias to animals in controlled laboratory settings where effects can be carefully measured, & there is zero toxic effect, not even a contact dermatitis response from handling the poinsettias & getting the latex on your nose & face while eating the bracts, leaves, stems, stamins, or roots -- across the board non-toxic.
Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural, Ohio State University horticultural extension, attempts to make it easy to understand, stating: "Research conducted at The Ohio State University and other institutions has proved the old wives' tale that poinsettias are poisonous to be false."
See for example: Grabmeier, Jeff. Despite the Myth, Ohio State Study Proved Poinsettias Non Toxic. The Ohio State University News, December 15, 1988.
Or see this classic study: Stone, R., & Collins, W. "Euphorbia Toxicity in Rats", Toxican volume 9, 1971. This report on the Ohio State University study discovered rats could thrive on a diet of poinsettias with zero toxic effects, not even dermatitis from handling all parts of the poinsettias to eat it. Other euphorbias were toxic, but not this one. Extrapolated to humans it was stated in no uncertain terms that a 50 pound child would have to eat the equivalent of 500 to 600 poinsettia bracts to experience even a mild stomach upset. That kid would get sick faster eating that much mashed potatoes with gravy!
For an on-line resource, see this North Arundel Hospital overview on the harmlessness of poinsettias: <http://health.northarundel.org/childsafety/home_safety/ency/poinsettia/poinsettia.htm Whatever the voices in peoples' head tell them, believe me, this hospital isn't being propogandistic; they're heading off pointless wastes of everyone's time when parents freak out needlessly & use up emergency room resources because their kid gummed a poinsettia.
Rutgers University offers a concise little fact sheet entitled in large capital letters Poinsettias Are Not Poisonous exclamation mark: <http://aesop.rutgers.edu/~floriculture/publications/poisonpt.htm See at Ohio State U this reminder not to worry about this non-toxic plant being toxic: <http://www.ag.ohio-state.edu/~news/story.php?id '63>
Many if not the majority of plants in its family are toxic or can cause skin blistering, but poinsettias is one many exceptions. Without a specific allergy that would make someone equally allergic to pencil erasers & anything else with a latex base, poinsettias are harmless. Controlled studies prove them non-toxic; major universities and their horticultural extensions say they're non-toxic; poison control centers say they're non-toxic; the Center for Disease Control says they're non-toxic; growers say they're non-toxic. Of these only the growers would have any cause to be propogandistic about it, but would be sued into non-existence if some kid or pet got sick from false claims of safety.
Heck, even the National Security Institute calls this one of "the most widely believed folklore myths" with zero credibility: <http://nsi.org/Tips/poinsett.html and if these paranoia-profiteering national security wonks can't work up some paranoia against poinsettias, why should you? Of course, NSI does profit from espionage, so maybe they're just covering up for the how poinsettia vendors who have put listening devices in the poinsettias & the flowers are reporting your every move to the government.
Really there's nobody thinks they're toxic but people who are kinda ignorant of the topic & thereby continue to believe a baseless fable.
So my question is, is someone forging your posts to make you look less knowledgeable than you would ordinarily appear to be, or have you really lost your mind? Because this is exactly the kind of mistake you are so often ribbing others about, as though it takes a complete nincompoop to persist in believing the unreal is real. You've been posting this nincompoop-style error about twice a day. What's next? Are claims of the non-existence of Santa Claus, The Great Pumpkin, & the Easter Bunny likewise mere propoganda? If the science is not to be believed, then maybe they're also wrong that monkshoods ARE toxic & we should use the roots as relish. Maybe aspirin doesn't actually help headaches. The thing about no longer believing the actual science of a thing is that pretty soon all realitly is up for grabs. You could fall off the planet because there's nothing to guarantee gravity will keep working.
The only things ACTUALLY toxic on a poinsettia are apt to be the wide array of chemicals used by growers to keep stems from splitting, to induce rapid growth, & to keep insects from nibbling on them before people with bad taste in flowers buy them.
your pal, paggers
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Say what you want about the Poinsettia industry and hospitals not wanting their emergency rooms clogged during the holiday season but Santa Claus is based upon an actual person better known as Saint Nicholas. Tell the Greeks that there never was a Saint Nicholas and you will be in serious trouble.
Interesting how all the studies on the non-toxicity of Poinsettias originate from Ohio State and they also happened to play a role in developing the improved cultivars we grow today.
Never said that one would drop dead from handling Poinsettias, only that many people experience allergic reactions to handling them akin to poison ivy poisoning. Many emergency rooms don't want to deal with that either.
Rat are capable of eating many things that certainly would make us sissy humans very ill. Everyone except Joe Rogan and a few iron stomached contestants on Fear Factor perhaps.
wrote:

<http://health.northarundel.org/childsafety/home_safety/ency/poinsettia/poinsettia.htm
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The only way to settle this is for paghat to gather up some of her friends and have them have various poinsettias rubbed all up and down their naked bodies and post the video on the internet. The friends will all have to be hot young naked and female for publicity reasons, otherwise, no one will watch and so effectively prove nothing. I will volunteer to do all the rubbing for this um very scientific experiment.
Meanwhile paghat can drink a cup of poinsettia tea and refrain from having her eyes bug out or running off to the bathroom. Later she can post the results of a colonoscopy showing no weird latex crud lining her intestines. For show she can crumple some leaves or flowers in her hand and knuckle her eyes a couple of times for good measure. if she is blinded, this will make the moles in her garden happy ("ah yes, paghat the molegirl, she's one of us now!")
for paggers: <tickle>
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paghat's female friends. They are not young, and have no familiarity with razors or deodorants.
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"Gary L. Burnore" <'> wrote in

Surely paghat must know at least a few young attractive females in the PNW lebanese community willing to make sacrifices for Science.
Alas, if not I suppose we'll have to resort to having Fear Factor settle the issue.
As for you, change your name often or are all DATABASIX employees poster children for why women should be allowed to have abortions?
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They can be toxic if they want to. My comment was my reaction to the usual "Dozen Deadly Dangers of the Holiday Season" that usually appear in the newspapers this time of year. Maybe it was an over-reaction, that'd be a Usenet first. Or maybe just a frivolous comment, at one time those were permitted.
On Mon, 06 Dec 2004 04:09:56 GMT, "Cereus-validus..."

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Cereus-validus... wrote:

A. It's true B. People who still remember the old wives tale that it's poisonous kill sales
Pretty much the same reason why any old wives tale about a commercial product being harmful is strenuously rebuked with evidence until the believers of the old wives tales are generally thought of as being the ignorant fools they are.
I'm going to go with the real evidence on this one, and write-off the old wives tale of them being poisonous as being the unfounded rumor with no evidence to back it up that it is.
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Warren H.

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Or, conversely, why do certain people cling so tenaciously to a myth like the toxicity of poinsettias?
What is their real motivation for perpetuating such claims?
billo
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On Sat, 04 Dec 2004 17:12:50 GMT, "glenon"

I have one of these "pencil plants" and it grows crazy unless it is kept pruned. And when cut, it "bleeds" quite a bit. I cut the stems that point down for a better shape. I also have a "Crown of Thorns" that blooms small bright red simple flowers and bleeds similar to the pencil plant when cut. The sap is a poisonous white latex, typical of euphorbias.
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Long ago after handling roughskin newts which were very tame & friendly, I completely forgot they are also toxic. When I knuckled my eyes, I had to run water over my eyes for fifteen minutes of agony, & worried the whole while I had blinded myself for life.
I probably wash my hands at least hourly on long gardening days. The garden is full of stuff that is only rarely apt to cause injury to the skin unless someone is overly sensitive or allergic, but which can make ANY nose-picker or eye-knuckler VERY sorry. There are also potential life-risking infections that can be gotten from soil, including tetanus which makes death-by-gardening sufficiently a realistic threat that some nurseries & gardening organizations should make tetanus booster shots a requirement.
Here's my article on pencil cacti: http://www.paghat.com/firesticks.html
-paghat the ratgirl
--
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"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Well, this was my first experience with them, as far as the sap, and hopefully my last.! So my 8 ft. euphorbia (and I did know that) will get a severe talking to along with some pruning (while wearing gloves!).
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gloria - only the iguanas know for sure



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