The Narcissus Plant – Pretty But Deadly!

I’ve blogged before about some deceptively attractive plants that can be lethal when ingested, and I have one more to add to the list.

NarcissusParts of the beautiful, flowering narcissus plant can be quite poisonous and deadly!

Narcissus is a popular ornamental plant for personal gardens, community parks and as cut flowers in the spring and early summer. But, it can be as toxic as it is beautiful and is on the list of the top ten most poisonous plants in the world.

The Tulipa/Narcissus plant species, with up to 60 different varieties, originally came1024px-Narcissus_white from Holland. This plant is commonly known by its three most popular varieties: the narcissus, the jonquil and the daffodil. All species of the narcissus plant family, however, contain a common deadly element–the poison lycorine.

Lycorine is a toxic crystalline alkaloid that is highly poisonous, and can be fatal if enough of the plant is ingested. Lycorine is found mostly in the bulbs of the narcissus plant family, but it is also present in the leaves.

This alkaloid inhibits protein synthesis. Depending on the amount consumed, the poison can produce intense gastrointestinal irritation, drooling, loss of appetite, headaches, low blood pressure, central nervous system depression, convulsions and cardiac abnormalities. If someone is given a large enough dose, death could result.

The Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants by Lewis S. Nelson et al describes the symptoms of narcissus poisoning well and warns that children under six are especially vulnerable.

An interesting side note is that florists who handle the plant’s leaves often thdevelop a stubborn dermatitis. The condition is called “daffodil itch” and the symptoms include dryness, skin cracking and fissures, scaling and extreme redness of the skin. There is also an accompanying thickening of the skin beneath the nails from exposure to the plant’s sap.

The daffodil variety of Tulipa/Narcissus is responsible for many accidental poisonings since the daffodil bulbs look so similar to onions and might mistakenly be substituted for onions in cooking. There is evidence in literature that consumption of one or two daffodil bulbs could prove lethal for the average adult human.

On May 1st, 2009, school children at a primary school in Martlesham Heath, Suffolk,2836068-daffodil-bulbs England became seriously ill after a single daffodil bulb was added to soup by mistake during a cooking class.

So, the next time you’re searching for an interesting method to kill off a character in your story, have another character cook up a batch of onion soup using several daffodil bulbs instead. The soup will be deliciously deadly!

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear them!

About James J. Murray, Fiction Writer

With experience in both pharmaceutical manufacturing and clinical patient management, medications and their impact on one’s quality of life have been my expertise. My secret passion of murder and mayhem, however, is a whole other matter. I’ve always loved reading murder mysteries and thrillers, and longed to weave such tales of my own. Drawing on my clinical expertise as a pharmacist and my infatuation with the lethal effects of drugs, my tales of murder, mayhem and medicine will have you looking over your shoulder and suspicious of anything in your medicine cabinet.
This entry was posted in A How To Blog on Murder Weapons, About James J. Murray, About Murder, About Writing, All About Murder, Blog Writers, Blogging, Bloodless Death Scene Writing, Botanical Murder Weapons, Botanicals That Kill, Chemicals Used For Murder, Common Varieties of Narcissus Plant Family, Contact Poisons, Daffodil Plant Dangers, Deadly Daffodil Bulbs, Deadly Poison Lycorine, Deadly Poisons Discussed, Designing Murder Plots, Developing Better Writing Skills, Developing Story Plots, Drug Poisoning, Drug Poisoning in Children, Drugs For Murder Plots, Drugs Used For Murder, Eating Poisonous Plants, How to Choose a Murder Weapon for a Plot Idea, How To Write A BloodLess Murder Scene, Ideas for Murder Scenes, Interesting Murder Weapons, James J. Murray Blog, Jonquil Plant Dangers, Killing a Villain in a Novel, Killing Off Characters in Your Novel, Killing With Poisonous Plants, Lethal Botanicals, Lethal Poisons, Murder Mayhem and Medicine, Murder Weapons Discussed, Murder With Poisonous Plants, Narcissus Plant Dangers, New Blog, New Methods To Kill Characters in Your Novel, Plants That Kill, Plants Used For Murder, Plotting Interesting Murder Scenes, Poisonous Daffodil Bulbs, Poisonous Narcissus Plant, Poisonous Plants, Poisons and Murder, Poisons Used For Murder, Prescription For Murder Blog, The Science of Murder, Tools for Murder, Top 10 Most Poisonous Plants, Unique Murder Plots, Unique Murder Weapons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Narcissus Plant – Pretty But Deadly!

  1. Thank you so much for posting these!! Such wonderful and gruesome ways to “off” those pesky characters!! I haven’t decided on which one to choose, yet, but I am getting all sorts of nasty ideas! LOL

  2. Judith Baccon says:

    I picked approximately 16 daffodils & 6 ranunculus @ placed them in a glass of water as I picked them. Came in & made 2 small arrangements. Started to make dinner. Reached for what I thought was my morning leftover water glass & drank it all. Noticed white smeary stuff in the bottom. Started dinner & within 30-45 minutes (?), started to feel odd, then nauseous, then major tremors, then uncontrollable vomiting which ultimately ended with maybe a 1/4 cup of a yellow liquid. Continued the tremors. Slowly feeling better. My head feels Strange like in a neural way. Found no recommendations as to what I should do, drink a coke?, eat something soothing. The thought of food is quite repugnant at the moment.

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