by Lore Sjöberg
While some dismiss claims that poinsettias are poisonous as
mere "urban legend," few realize that in the original, undomesticated
form the poinsettia is the most virulent poison on earth, killing
quickly but painfully, and continuing to eat at the body of the poor
unfortunate soul who ingested it until they look like Aunt Beru's
corpse in Star Wars. Tribesmen often used arrows dipped in poinsettia
juice to kill elephants they really disliked, even though the
process of extracting the juice was itself danger-ridden, as a
single touch from a single petal would cause one's hand to rot from
the elbow down in a matter of hours.
The poinsettia, then, was first introduced to Christmas festivities
as a threat. Tiring of the usual bribes for children to be good,
parents would tell how Santa Claus (or, as he was more commonly
known back then, "Robin Shinkel") would sneak into the rooms of bad
children and stuff poinsettias down their throats, laughing heartily
as each dying child would tear blankets and shatter the headboards,
such was the power of the poinsettia-induced death throes. And
just to underscore the point, poinsettias were scattered around the home,
usually but not always out of arm's reach.
In time, the poisonless poinsettia was developed by Dr. Enrique
Yuban, the inventor of decaffinated coffee. Parents, enjoying
the abject terror the flower inspired, but wanting to cut down on
the body count, took to the new strain in droves. Today, the
original deadly poinsettia is all but extinct, no longer being
cultivated now that elephants have developed a genetic immunity to it.
And now you know...the truth.