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The toxicity of daffodil bulbs

Daffodil bulbs contain poisonous substances called alkaloids that circulate throughout the plant. Daffodil sap can cause skin irritation and rashes. Most animals will not eat daffodil bulbs because of their unpleasant taste.

Alkaloids

Daffodil bulbs contain poisonous compounds called alkaloids that harm body tissue by rapidly disrupting cell division. Eating daffodil bulbs results in severe nausea and vomiting, and can lead to death if immediate medical attention is not sought.

Other Toxins

Daffodils contain calcium oxalate crystals, found in especially high concentrations in the stems and the sap. Calcium oxalate crystals make tiny cuts in human tissue when daffodil sap gets on the skin, causing a rash and irritation.

Considerations

The substances that make daffodil bulbs toxic also give them an unpleasant taste. Daffodils are recommended as deer and gopher resistant flowers, because animals avoid them.

Expert Insight

Toxic compounds in daffodil bulbs that circulate throughout the plant can kill other cut flowers exposed to daffodils in a vase. To prevent damage to a bouquet from daffodil sap, change the water in the vase daily.

Prevention/Solution

Wear gloves when planting, cutting or working with daffodils to prevent skin rash. Wash hands well after gardening. Keep pets and children out of daffodil beds. Contact a vet or doctor immediately if pets or people ingest any daffodil parts.

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About the Author

Pamela Grundy writes about psychology, finance, gardening, ecology and the paranormal. Grundy is a Grand Rapids New Age reporter for Examiner.com, and a regular contributor to "Eye On Life Magazine." Her poetry, short stories, and personal essays have been published in "The Sun," "Square Lake," "No Exit," "Maize," and more.