The flowers and buds of the common daylily are safe for human consumption and can even be used as a flavouring ingredient in some dishes. However, the entire daylily plant, including the flowers, is fatally poisonous to cats and cows, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
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Daylily, part of the Hemerocallis genus, is a perennial plant with a wide range of flower colours and shapes. The National Gardening Association's Edible Landscaping website recommends eating daylily flowers for their asparagus- or summer squash-scented flavour, and the North Carolina Cooperative Extension rates the daylily flower as sweet and vegetal-tasting. However, daylily flowers should be eaten in moderation, as they naturally contain diuretic or laxative properties.
Most lilies are toxic to cats, but some are more poisonous than others. The two most dangerous types are any lilies from the Hemerocallis genus, which includes the daylily, and the Lilium genus, which includes Easter lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies. Signs of accidental ingestion include chewed leaves and vomiting. The website Pet MD warns that as few as two leaves can cause a fatal reaction in cats.
Emergency Assistance for Cats
If a cat ingests any part of the daylily, kidney failure is possible. If you suspect that your cat has accidentally eaten part of the daylily, PetMD recommends inducing vomiting with 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, which can be repeated once after 15 minutes if no vomiting occurs. Regardless of whether the cat vomits, you must seek veterinary emergency assistance as soon as possible. If a cat is not given immediate care, daylily ingestion can cause kidney failure and death.
Any part of the day lily plant is poisonous to cows, but the toxicity reaction does not cause kidney failure. Instead, cows that accidentally ingest daylilies will experience lack of coordination, paresis, blindness and eventually death.
The ASPCA states that daylilies are non-toxic to dogs. However, the website Dog-Health-Guide lists the daylily as a possible poisonous threat to dogs, so it may be better to remain on the safe side and avoid exposure. Other lilies that are toxic to dogs include the peace, Asian, calla, Easter, glory, Japanese show, orange day, red, rubrum, tiger, stargazer and wood lily, as well as the lily-of-the-valley.
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- National Gardening Association Edible Landscaping; Growing Edible Flowers in Your Garden; Charlie Nardozzi
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension; Edible Flowers; Cyndi Lauderdale, Erv Evans
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Day lilies
- Pet MD: Lily Poisoning in Cats
- Dog-Health-Guide: Dog Poisonous Plants