A botanist and renowned BBC presenter has warned against “poisoning” after being tipped off that M&S was selling daffodils alongside vegetables. James Wong asked the store to train his staff after seeing a photo of flowers being sold in the produce aisle.
He wrote on Twittrer: “OMG my mom sent me this… Daffodils are the most common cause of plant poisoning as people mistake their bulbs (even cut flower buds) for crops from the onion family “.
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He told M&S: “@marksandspencer I don’t want any staff to get in trouble. But he needs better training ASAP.”
BBC Radio 4 regular panelist Gardeners’ Question Time and host of Secrets of Your Own Food added: “Daffodils are full of microscopic crystals, so biting into one is like swallowing a box of tiny needles. Correctly unpleasant.”
Daffodils are “somewhat poisonous” and “irritating to the skin” according to the Royal Horticultural Society . In 2015, Public Health England wrote to supermarkets urging them to display daffodils away from fruit and vegetables so they are not mistaken for food.
Every spring people in the UK consume daffodil stems or bulbs after mistaking them for onions, garlic, chives and shallots. Eating the plant can lead to severe vomiting and poisoning, Public Health England previously warned.
One Twitter user, @Natures_great, responded to James’s warning, writing: “That’s not good. I used to work on daffodil farms in Cornwall, harvesting flowers and bulbs. I have scars on my hands from the sap that runs off. seeps around the rubber.” gloves we had to wear. I hate to think what it would do to your insides.
M&S was quick to respond to James’ tweet: “Hi James, so sorry to hear this. In a private message, could you tell me which store this is in so I can look into it for you? Thanks.” Birmingham Live has contacted M&S for comment.
Why are daffodils poisonous to humans?
Daffodils contain a toxic chemical called lycorine, which is most concentrated in the bulb of the plant. Eating any part of a daffodil can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, poison control state
As botanist James Wong explained in his tweet, daffodils also contain oxalates, which are needle-like molecules. These can cause irritation and burning when they come in contact with the skin, mouth, and throat.
Daffodils and their bulbs are also poisonous to dogs. Here is a list of other common garden and house plants to consider if you have a pet.