You love the look of daffodils and you know that edible flowers are now a thing for decorating cakes and pimping up salads. Knowing this, you might find yourself asking: Can you eat daffodils or not?
No, you cannot eat daffodils. It’s as simple as that. Daffodils can poison you if you eat them. This is an easy rule to follow if you’re an adult but it’s worth keeping an eye on children in the garden if you have planted daffodils.
Daffodils might appear innocent from the outside but daffodils are actually incredibly poisonous and toxic. This is the case for all parts of the daffodil too: The flowers, the leaves and the bulb. They might look nice but they truly are a silent killer.
Dangers of Eating Daffodils
When it comes to eating daffodils, there are two main causes of toxicity. You’ll either get poisoning from the bulbs or from the foliage and flowers:
Lycorine in Daffodil Bulbs
The first toxic chemical that can be found in daffodils is lycorine. It is actually common in a lot of flowering plants. Fortunately, you won’t get poisoned from touching the bulbs and you’re only like to get sick from consuming a little.
It’s when you consume a lot of a bulb that it becomes highly toxic. This is actually the case for both humans and animals so it’s worth bearing in mind if you have dogs or cats at home.
Calcium Oxalate Crystals in Daffodil Plants
Calcium oxalate crystals are the other dangerous element in daffodils and can actually be found in the leaves and flowers.
Some people will get a minor reaction solely from touching the plants which can lead to ‘lily rash’. That’s why it’s advisable to wear gloves when handling daffodils.
The symptoms and effects are far greater if you were to ingest the leaves and the side effects can be quite dramatic.
There are a number of other bulb plants which are toxic to humans. All parts of a tulip, for example, are highly toxic. Lily-of-the-valley is poisonous. Peonies (although grown from tubers as opposed to bulbs) are also highly toxic to humans.
Side Effects of Eating Daffodils
If you accidentally ingest daffodils then there are a range of side effects you may experience depending on the part of the plant you have consumed and the toxic element that is affecting you. These side effects can include:
Diarrhoea and Nausea
This is the main side effect of lycorine poisoning. In general, any form of stomach problem is likely to be attributed to being poisoned by your daffodils.
Burning in the Mouth
Calcium oxalate crystals can cause immediate pain, particularly in the mouth. It will give you a strong burning sensation which can then lead to difficulty swelling, hoarseness and swelling in the throat.
Ultimately, the side effects of eating daffodils are similar to the side effects you will experience when eating anything toxic. Your body will do its best to get rid of the poison.
What Do You Do If You Have Eaten Daffodils?
If you’re experiencing the side effects above and happen to have handled daffodils recently then there is a chance you have been poisoned.
If your vomiting is not too severe, then continue to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration but your body will continue to flush the poison out the best it can.
If symptoms worsen or do not subside in a day or two then it’s vital that you contact your local hospital, surgery or health centre.
If you’ve got other specific questions about eating TEMPLATE then these might help:
All parts of daffodils are toxic. This is why we would err on the side of caution and ensure you do not eat any part of the plant, including the petals.
Some people choose to try daffodils because of their curiosity. After all, many flowers are edible. Unfortunately, daffodils do look similar to garlic chives which resulted in a surge of poisoning cases amongst the Chinese community in the UK.
There are a number of flowers that are edible from the garden. These flowers include violas, nasturtiums, roses, lavender and dandelions.
Yes, you can safely touch daffodil bulbs but it’s still a good idea to wash your hands afterwards. The other option, of course, is to ensure you wear gloves when planting daffodil bulbs.
Lewis is the founder and editor of Let’s Foodie alongside other food-related platforms including FreezeIt and SubstituteIt. He launched Let’s Foodie to provide aspiring cooks with one place to get the answers to some of the most commonly asked cooking questions.