Poisonous Garden Plants: Daffodils, Lantana and Euphorbia

Updated on June 18, 2020
Gloriousconfusion profile image

Diana was a Member of the Royal Horticultural Society. She & her family all love gardening. She enjoys photographing & painting plants too.


It's surprising how many common garden plants actually have poisonous parts. You won't necessarily die from being poisoned, but it's important to know which plants are in this category and what to do about it if you find strange things happening after contact with them.

I've written a number of articles about poisonous plants. A number of them are listed at the bottom of this page for your information, so that you can learn more about them and also identify them from the photographs.

Poisonous Daffodils
Poisonous Daffodils | Source


Daffodils, narcissi and jonquils (which are all members of the daffodil family) are mildly toxic if the bulbs are eaten in large quantities—some people confuse them for onions.

Poisonous Parts

All parts are poisonous, but especially the bulbs. Daffodils contain poisonous alkaloids called narcitine and narcicysteine.


Abdominal pains, cramps, vomiting, nausea, lightheadedness, shivering, and diarrhea.


Intravenous hydration and/or drugs to stave off nausea and vomiting if symptoms are severe or the patient is a child.

Poisonous Lantana
Poisonous Lantana | Source


If the berries are ingested, lantana is highly toxic and possibly fatal. You might not be tempted, but watch out for children and pets eating them.

Having said that, however, I did in fact eat the ripe berries as a child, with no ill effects whatsoever.

Poisonous Parts

Green, unripened berries and leaves.


Vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, trouble breathing and the leaves may be a skin irritant. As a skin irritant, lantana causes only mild and/or short-term irritation.

Wear Gloves and Avoid Ingesting Any Sap

When dealing with any of these plants, it's important to wear special gardening gloves (particularly if you have sensitive skin), and don't lick your fingers after touching their sap.

My Own Experience of Lantana (Cherry Pie)

When I was a child, we lived in Africa. We had a big garden, divided up by a long and tall cherry pie hedge. The flowers were mauve and yellow, followed by green berries which ripened into delicious little black berries. I regularly used to pick and eat them straight from the bush, like you do with regular blackberries. The taste was aromatic, and sweet, a bit like blackberries or blueberries, but with a slightly more pungent smell and flavour. The texture was similar, though the berries were a lot smaller. The smell is in my nostrils as I write this.

I'm not sure that my mother knew, but she certainly didn't stop me. Maybe a gentle admonition, but nothing very meaningful or forceful. Poisonous berries? I don't think so—or maybe I am invincible! I certainly never suffered any ill effects whatsoever. And yet, according to my recent research, I could be dead. Mind you, it was the black sweet berries I was eating, and not the green, unripened ones.

So it seems I am lucky to be alive and writing this article.

Poisonous Euphorbia
Poisonous Euphorbia | Source

Euphorbia (Spurge)

There are more than one hundred species of euphorbia, or spurge. In all of these species, the juice or sap is so acrid that it may corrode and ulcerate the skin after any contact.

Poisonous Properties

All species of euphorbia or spurge contain a more-or-less poisonous, acrid milky juice. Contact with the skin causes extreme irritation, inflammation, ulceration, and in some cases gangrene.

If swallowed, it may be fatal.

The caper spurge (E. lathyrus) contains an acrid, emetic, and highly purgative milky juice, and the fruits have commonly been employed by country folk as a purge.


If ingested (swallowed), spurges have an irritating effect on the mucous membrane, especially at the back of the mouth. Around 45–120 minutes after eating the plant, or even longer, there is painful vomiting, followed by diarrhea and low temperature. If the quantity ingested has been sufficient, there will also be nervous symptoms, vertigo, delirium, muscular tremors, circulatory troubles and abundant sweating.

In addition there may be loss of appetite, colic, tympanites, bloating, fever, palpitation of the heart and loss of consciousness. In a fatal dose, the symptoms of superpurgation and enteritis predominate, but are accompanied by nervous symptoms and circulatory disorders.


The advice of a physician should be requested immediately.

Keep an Eye on Your Children and Pets in the Garden

Make sure they never eat or play with daffodils, lantana or euphorbia.

The poinsettia is also a member of the euphorbia family and is poisonous.
The poinsettia is also a member of the euphorbia family and is poisonous. | Source


When I lived in Africa, we had a poinsettia tree in the garden. It was so beautiful. The red "flowers" are actually leaf bracts and not flowers at all—and they may also be orange, cream, pink or pale green. The shrub grows to a height between 2–16 feet and bears large leaves. If grown outside, it does best in a subtropical climate where there is no frost, and it has very specific light and dark requirements before it will produce its brightly coloured bracts.

Poinsettia originates from South America. The Aztecs extracted red dye from it and used it as an herbal medicine similar to aspirin and ibuprofen to reduce fever.

Unlike other members of the spurge family, which may be highly toxic, poinsettia is only mildly toxic. It may be a skin or stomach irritant, sometimes causing diarrhea and vomiting if eaten, or a skin allergy to anyone sensitive to latex. If sap goes into the eye, it may cause temporary blindness.

Have you ever been poisoned by contact with a poisonous plant?

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Please Leave a Message About Your Experiences

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    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      13 months ago from United Kingdom

      I always knew about poinsettia because my mother used to warn me as a child when we lived in Africa oh-so-many moons ago. But I was surprised myself to learn about daffodils when doing a bit of research about something else

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      13 months ago

      Fascinating! I had no idea you had to watch out for poinsettia and daffodils.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      It's may be poisonous but from what I understand, it's not lethal, so you'll be fine

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Oh my! I didn't know lantana is poisonous . I have this flower in my garden. Thanks for the info

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 

      5 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Great information. I always forget daffodil bulbs are poisonous - maybe some of the creatures that eat mine every year suffer the consequences! I still love poinsettia plants for the holiday season - my cats never ate them, at least as far as I know.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Expat Mamasita: Oh dear, I have a cat, but fortunately she hasn't eaten the leaves

    • Expat Mamasita profile image

      Expat Mamasita 

      6 years ago from Thailand

      Thank you for the info. I never bought poinsettia plants at Xmas when we had a cat as I was told it was poisonous to them if they ate the leaves.

    • LaptopLeader profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for the information. :) There seem to be a lot of poisonous plants and flowers that we aren't really aware of.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      @AlleyCatLane: thanks for that information - I'm afraid I never had anything like that when my children were young

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Well I misseed the one in the quiz about making them sick. When my kids were little we kept a bottle of Ipecac on hand in case of accidental poisoning. It would make one vomit about 20 minutes after taking. It was the thing doctors and the poison center recommended if your child ate leaves or berries of suspicious origin.

    • profile image

      Kandy O 

      9 years ago

      Very informative lens!

    • Ellen Mitchell profile image

      Ellen Mitchell 

      9 years ago

      Excellent information. I love the followup quiz.

    • AbhinavB LM profile image

      AbhinavB LM 

      9 years ago

      An eyeopener article for me... every thing that glitters is not gold!!!

    • Rockett LM profile image

      Rockett LM 

      9 years ago

      Great information. I had NO idea that daffodils are poisonous. Nice lens!

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 

      9 years ago from California

      No more flower kissing for me.

    • jlshernandez profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens to share. I have holly berries in my garden and eating 20 of these berries can prove lethal. Lenrolled to Summer Flowers in my Garden and Spring Flowers in my Garden.

    • hotbrain profile image


      9 years ago from Tacoma, WA

      Nice lens, I'm glad you didn't get sick from those berries you ate!

    • WindyWintersHubs profile image


      9 years ago from Vancouver Island, BC

      I always wondered why the deer avoid Daffodils and never clued in that they may be poisonous. Thanks for your info on these poisonous garden plants.

    • profile image

      akumar46 lm 

      9 years ago

      Good advice and very nice lens on poisonous plants.

    • LisaDH profile image


      9 years ago

      Good information. But poinsettia, though not edible, is not poisonous. It's a persistent myth, but all the reliable sources do indicate it's a myth.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      10 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I remember as a child playing with other children in yards where plants with red berried grew. Usually one of the children would say the berries were poison, but we all ate them with no ill effects. i have no idea what they were, since I did not know as much about plants then as I do now. Part of the problem though, is that after a few such experiences, children may just disregard warnings about poisonous plants altogether as a kind of "crying wolf."

    • norma-holt profile image


      10 years ago

      I am with you and thanks for bringing awareness to these dangerous plants. I blame oleabder for giving me sinus as a three year old and have been very aware of plants that exude white latex stuff from their links. But I love figs and they also have this. 5* and fave



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