Daffodils Are Wicked Plants

On a recommendation I requested the book “Wicked Plants” by Amy Stewart. It turns out daffodils are on her list of dangerous plants.

That’s a problem around my house. Daffodils grow wild in the lawn and in the edges of the woods next to the lawn. Their numbers increase every year.

People love daffodils and have for centuries. When new places are settled, the bulbs are part of the luggage. No one knows where the original plants grew as they now grow all over the world.

wicked plant daffodil
Daffodils really aren’t wicked. The toxins in their corms are to discourage animals from eating them. They are among the earliest wildflowers, and largest early ones. Most years they begin blooming and get snowed on.

One warning in the book is very important: Never eat any part of a plant you are unfamiliar with. Those lovely red berries may be your last meal.

I ignore another suggestion: Wear gloves when handling plants. I rarely wear gloves as even the small ones hang a half inch over the ends of my fingers. And I don’t normally handle plants I am unfamiliar with.

The book “Wicked Plants” is an interesting book. It isn’t the easiest book to read as it is like reading an encyclopedia or a dictionary as it is page after page of plants. A few entries at a time works the best for me.

The plants are labeled as deadly, dangerous, intoxicating, illegal, destructive, painful, offensive, etc. Each is labeled with the family, place of origin, habitat and common names. The stories about them can be interesting along with the information about the plants.

daffodil plant group
Naturalized daffodils also called jonquils are smaller than the big garden bulbs. They do produce seeds and spread that way. They also produce more corms so each plant becomes a little community.

The author has a similar book called “Wicked Bugs” I will look for next. I doubt I am as familiar with the bugs as I am with the plants.

As to the daffodils being dangerous, the bulbs contain several toxins that can cause drooling, depression and heart problem if consumed. It’s doubtful anyone other than a young child would deliberately chew on a daffodil or tulip bulb. The main problem is with dogs.

And for those of us who keep cats: Lilies are deadly to them.

Are plants really wicked? Many can be dangerous, but wicked is a human concept. The plants are simply trying to survive.

Daffodils are found in both “Exploring the Ozark Hills” and “My Ozark Home“.