Are Narcissus Poisonous to Humans: What You Need to Know

Have you ever come across a beautiful flower and wondered if it’s safe to touch or even take a closer sniff? Narcissus is one such flower that is admired by many for its vibrant colors and fragrance. But the question is, are narcissus poisonous to humans? Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Narcissus plant contains a toxic chemical called lycorine, which can cause mild to severe symptoms if ingested. However, the level of toxicity depends on the amount of lycorine present in the flower and the part of the plant consumed. While the flowers and bulbs of some narcissus species are safe to handle, others can cause skin irritation, vomiting, and even death if ingested.

Despite the potential risks of consuming or handling narcissus, it’s crucial to remember that not all species are toxic. In fact, some varieties are used for medicinal purposes due to their healing properties. If you’re unsure about the safety of narcissus, it’s best to consult with a professional before handling or consuming any part of the plant. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll delve deeper into the world of narcissus and discover what makes this flower so fascinating yet potentially dangerous.

Types of Narcissus Plants

A member of the Amaryllidaceae family, Narcissus is a genus with about sixty species and countless hybrids. Narcissus plants are commonly known as daffodils, and they are characterized by their conspicuous, large, and showy flowers.

  • Narcissus Pseudonarcissus – Commonly known as Wild daffodil or Lent lily, this is the most common and widespread species of Narcissus. It is native to Western Europe and blooms in April and May with bright yellow flowers.
  • Narcissus Tazetta – This species is also known as Chinese Sacred lily and blooms in clusters of white and yellow flowers in early spring. It is used for ornamental purposes, and its bulbs are sometimes forced to grow indoors during the winter.
  • Narcissus Jonquilla – This species is native to the Mediterranean and blooms in clusters of small yellow flowers in late spring. It has a distinct sweet fragrance and is commonly used in perfumes.

In addition to the above-mentioned species, there are countless hybrid varieties of Narcissus plants. They vary in color, size, and bloom time, making them a popular choice for gardens and cut flowers.

While Narcissus plants are generally safe to handle and grow, their bulbs contain toxic chemicals that can be harmful when ingested. It is important to keep these plants away from children and pets and to handle their bulbs with care.

Narcissus Pseudonarcissus Narcissus Tazetta Narcissus Jonquilla
Narcissus Pseudonarcissus Narcissus Tazetta Narcissus Jonquilla
Native to Western Europe; bright yellow flowers in April and May Blooms in clusters of white and yellow flowers; used for ornamental purposes Native to the Mediterranean; sweet fragrance; used in perfumes

Physical Characteristics of Narcissus

Narcissus is a genus of spring-blooming perennial plants that belong to the Amaryllidaceae family. These plants are also known as daffodils, and are native to Europe and parts of North Africa and the Middle East. Narcissus plants have a unique physical appearance that distinguishes them from other plants.

  • The leaves of Narcissus are long and narrow, and grow from the base of the plant.
  • The stems of Narcissus can range from 6 inches to 24 inches tall, depending on the species.
  • The flowers of Narcissus are composed of six petals, surrounding a trumpet-shaped central structure called the corona.

There are over 50 species of Narcissus, and countless hybrids and cultivars. As a result, the physical characteristics of Narcissus can vary widely between different species and plants.

Some common physical characteristics of Narcissus include their bright yellow or white petals, and their unique trumpet-shaped corona. The size and shape of the flowers can also vary widely, from small and delicate to large and showy.

Physical Characteristics Description
Color The petals of Narcissus can be bright yellow, white, or a combination of the two.
Size The size of Narcissus flowers can range from 1 inch to 5 inches in diameter.
Shape The shape of Narcissus flowers can vary widely between different species and cultivars. Some are trumpet-shaped, while others are more flat or bowl-shaped.

Overall, the physical characteristics of Narcissus make these plants unique and visually stunning. Their bright colors and distinct shapes make them a popular choice for gardens and floral arrangements around the world.

Narcissus Poisoning Symptoms

Narcissus plants, also known as daffodils, are beautiful, spring-flowering bulbs that are commonly found in gardens and parks. However, if ingested, these plants can be toxic to humans and animals due to the presence of lycorine and other alkaloids in their bulbs, leaves, and flowers. The following are some of the symptoms of narcissus poisoning:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Low blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of plant material ingested, as well as the age and health of the person. Ingestion of large quantities of narcissus bulbs or leaves can cause serious health problems, such as seizures, hallucinations, and respiratory failure, and may even be fatal. Children and pets are at a higher risk of accidental ingestion, so it’s important to keep narcissus bulbs and plants out of their reach.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has ingested narcissus bulbs or leaves, seek medical attention immediately. The healthcare provider may perform a physical examination, conduct blood tests, and administer supportive care to manage the symptoms.

It’s also important to note that touching or handling narcissus plants can cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms may include redness, itching, and swelling of the skin. If you experience these symptoms, wash the affected area with soap and water and seek medical attention if necessary.

Poisoning Severity Symptoms
Mild Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness
Moderate Abdominal pain and cramping, weakness, confusion
Severe Seizures, hallucinations, respiratory failure

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers of narcissus plants and to take precautions to prevent accidental ingestion or skin irritation. By doing so, you can enjoy the beauty of these spring flowers without putting your health at risk.

Toxic Chemicals Found in Narcissus

While narcissus flowers may be beautiful to look at, they contain several toxic chemicals that can be harmful to humans if ingested or touched. Let’s take a closer look at some of these chemicals:

  • Lycorine: This chemical is present in the bulb of the narcissus plant and is considered one of the most toxic chemicals found in the plant. Ingestion of the bulb or any part of the plant containing lycorine can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and even convulsions.
  • Narcissine: This chemical is found in the sap of the narcissus plant and can cause skin irritation and blisters if it comes into contact with the skin. Ingestion of the sap can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  • Calcium oxalate: This chemical is found in the leaves of the narcissus plant and can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Ingestion of the leaves can cause symptoms such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

It’s important to note that not all varieties of narcissus contain these toxic chemicals and the severity of symptoms can vary depending on the person and the amount of exposure. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid handling or ingesting any part of the narcissus plant.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has ingested any part of the narcissus plant, seek medical attention immediately. The sooner treatment is received, the better the chance of a full recovery.

Toxic Chemicals Found in Narcissus can be further understood through the table below:

Chemical Part of plant found in Effects of ingestion Effects of contact with skin
Lycorine Bulb Nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, convulsions N/A
Narcissine Sap Vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain Skin irritation, blisters
Calcium oxalate Leaves Vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea Skin and mucous membrane irritation

Narcissus Poisoning Treatment

If a person consumes narcissus bulbs or any part of the flower, they may experience symptoms of poisoning, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can lead to convulsions, tremors, and even death. Therefore, it is crucial to seek medical assistance immediately if you suspect that someone has ingested any part of the narcissus plant.

The treatment for narcissus poisoning involves removing the toxins from the body and managing the symptoms. The healthcare professional may recommend inducing vomiting or using activated charcoal to absorb the toxins if the person has ingested the bulbs or flowers. They may also provide treatment for the symptoms, including medications to relieve nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Steps to take if someone has ingested narcissus

  • Call a medical emergency team as soon as possible.
  • Do not induce vomiting unless advised to do so by a healthcare professional.
  • If the person is unconscious, place them in the recovery position.
  • Do not give the person any food or drink until advised to do so by a healthcare professional.
  • Collect a sample of the plant or bulbs to take with you to the hospital so the medical team can identify what the person consumed precisely.


Prevention is key when it comes to narcissus poisoning. If you grow the plant in your garden, ensure that it is out of reach of children and pets. Educate yourself and your family members about the hazards of the plant, its symptoms, and what to do in case of exposure. Always wear gloves when handling the bulbs, and wash your hands thoroughly after planting or handling the plant to avoid any accidental ingestion.


Narcissus poisoning can be severe and even fatal in rare cases. It is essential to seek medical assistance immediately if someone has ingested any part of the plant. Take preventative measures to avoid exposure, and educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of the plant. In case of exposure, follow the steps provided by a health care professional on what to do.

Symptoms Treatment
Vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain Remove toxins from the body, manage symptoms, induce vomiting, or use activated charcoal to absorb toxins. Medication to relieve symptoms.
Convulsions and tremors Immediate medical attention, hospitalization, and treatment.
Fatalities are rare Preventative measures, educating yourself and family members about the plant’s dangers, and immediate action if exposed.

Remember, if you suspect someone has ingested any part of the narcissus plant, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Early intervention can save lives and prevent further complications.

How to Prevent Narcissus Poisoning

While the narcissus flower is a beautiful addition to any garden or home, it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers posed by its toxic properties. Here are some tips on how to prevent narcissus poisoning:

  • Keep narcissus plants out of reach of children and pets, who may be more susceptible to the toxic effects of the plant.
  • If you do come into contact with the plant or bulbs, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Avoid consuming any parts of the narcissus plant, including bulbs, leaves, or flowers.

In addition to these general tips, there are some specific precautions you can take when handling narcissus bulbs and flowers:

When planting narcissus bulbs, be sure to wear gloves to avoid skin irritation and potential poisoning. If you have sensitive skin, it may be best to avoid handling the bulbs altogether.

When cutting narcissus flowers for bouquets or arrangements, be sure to remove the stamens and pistils from the center of the flower, as these are the most toxic parts. Also avoid cutting the stem of the flower at an angle, as this can create a larger surface area for the toxic sap to leak out.

If you do come into contact with narcissus sap on your skin, immediately wash the affected area with soap and warm water. If you experience any symptoms of narcissus poisoning such as vomiting, diarrhea, or irregular heartbeat, seek medical attention right away.

Symptoms of Narcissus Poisoning Severity
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea Mild to moderate
Irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure Moderate to severe
Difficulty breathing, convulsions Severe

Prevention is key when it comes to narcissus poisoning. By taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy the beauty of these flowers without putting yourself or your loved ones at risk.

Other Poisonous Plants Similar to Narcissus

While narcissus plants are certainly toxic, they are not the only poisonous plants out there. In fact, there are several other plants that share toxic compounds with narcissus, making their effects on humans quite similar. Here are some examples:

  • Amaryllis – This plant contains similar alkaloids to narcissus and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if ingested.
  • Hyacinth – Another popular ornamental plant, the hyacinth shares similar glycosides with narcissus and can cause similar symptoms, including nausea and vomiting.
  • Lily-of-the-Valley – This plant contains cardiac glycosides that can lead to irregular heartbeat, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

Interestingly, many of these plants are commonly used in gardens and households despite their toxic properties. This highlights the importance of understanding the potential dangers of plants and taking precautions to keep them out of reach of children and pets. As always, it’s better to err on the side of caution and avoid ingestion or contact with any plant that you are unsure about.

If you think you or someone you know has been exposed to a poisonous plant, call Poison Control immediately for guidance on next steps.

FAQs: Are Narcissus Poisonous to Humans?

1. Are all parts of the narcissus plant toxic?
Yes, all parts of the plant are toxic, including the bulbs, flowers, and leaves.

2. What happens if you ingest narcissus?
Ingesting the plant can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even cardiac arrhythmias.

3. Are there any treatments for narcissus poisoning?
There is no specific antidote for narcissus poisoning, but treatment typically involves supportive measures such as managing symptoms and providing hydration.

4. Can the scent of narcissus be harmful?
While the scent of narcissus is not typically harmful, people who are sensitive to certain fragrances may experience allergic reactions.

5. Are pets such as dogs and cats at risk of narcissus toxicity?
Yes, pets can also be poisoned by narcissus. Symptoms can be similar to those experienced by humans, including vomiting, diarrhea, and cardiac issues.

6. Are there any medicinal uses for narcissus?
Yes, certain compounds found in narcissus have been studied for their potential use in treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression. However, it is important to note that the plant can still be toxic if ingested.

7. Can narcissus be safely grown in a home garden?
Yes, narcissus can be grown in a home garden as long as precautions are taken to ensure that children and pets do not ingest the plant.

Closing Thoughts: Thanks for Visiting!

Now that you know the answer to “Are Narcissus Poisonous to Humans?” it’s important to exercise caution when handling this pretty plant. Remember, while it may look harmless, it can cause serious harm if ingested. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you back here again soon for more informative articles!