Bulbs, Corms, Tubers and Rhizomes: What Potential Toxins Are Lurking Below the Soil?

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Springtime flowers are stunning, however some are doubtlessly harmful to our pets. The “bulb” vegetation may be poisonous. Botanically talking, flower bulbs are available many varieties: true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots and rhizomes. With some bulb vegetation, solely the half beneath the floor is problematic; with others, it’s the complete plant. The vegetation mentioned on this article are toxic to each canines and cats except in any other case specified (some are poisonous solely to cats), however remember that nearly any plant materials, even grass, could cause delicate abdomen upset if eaten and a pet is delicate to it.

True Bulbs

Most true bulbs have a papery pores and skin and look just like an onion. These are vegetation like daffodils (Narcissus sp.), tulips (Tulipa sp.), hyacinths (Hyacinthus sp., Muscari sp.) and snowdrops (Galanthus sp.). These vegetation include compounds which can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. Ingestion of the leaves, stems and flowers (i.e., the above-ground elements) might trigger delicate abdomen upset, whereas ingesting the bulbs could cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea.

Lilies (Lilium sp.) are true bulbs with out the papery pores and skin. All elements of the lily are doubtlessly lethal to cats, as they will trigger vomiting and kidney failure. Examples embody Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum), Oriental lily (Lilium orientalis) and Japanese lily (Lilium speciosum).


Corms look similar to true bulbs however are lacking the onion-like rings when lower open. Corms are a bulb-like organ that shops the meals wanted to provide the flower. Frequent corm vegetation embody: crocosmia (Crocosmia sp.), gladiolus (Gladiolus sp.), freesia (Freesia sp.) and crocus (Crocus sp.). With ingestion of the above-ground elements of those vegetation, delicate gastrointestinal upset may be seen. The corms are extra irritating than the above-ground elements and could cause bloody vomiting and diarrhea.


The tuber plant pet homeowners could also be most acquainted with is the potato. Tubers are simply enlarged underground stems. Frequent flowers that develop from tubers embody: tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida), cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.) and anemones (Anemone sp.).

Tuberous begonias include soluble calcium oxalate crystals with the highest quantities being present in the tuber. In canines and cats, these crystals could cause vomiting and drooling if ingested. Grazing animals (horses, cattle, and so on.) can doubtlessly eat sufficient to trigger kidney failure and demise.

Cyclamen vegetation include terpenoid saponins. These are soap-like compounds that may trigger abdomen upset in canines and cats. Massive ingestions of tubers from these vegetation by grazing animals could cause coronary heart rhythm abnormalities, seizures and demise.

Anemones include protoanemonin all through the plant together with the tuber, which is a blistering compound that may trigger ache and sores in the mouth if ingested.

Tuberous Roots

Tuberous roots are enlarged specialised roots that retailer meals for the rising season. Examples of tuberous root vegetation are dahlias (Dahlia sp.), daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) and candy potatoes (Ipomoea batatas).

Dahlias and candy potatoes are thought of to be unhazardous, however keep in mind nearly any plant materials could cause delicate abdomen upset if eaten.

Daylilies are edible for folks, however lethal for cats. All elements of the plant could cause vomiting and kidney failure.


Rhizomes are specialised stems that develop sideways underground, and some are used for meals storage for the plant. Frequent rhizome vegetation embody: iris (Iris sp.), lily of the valley (Convallaria sp.), canna (Canna sp.) and ginger (Zingiber officinale).

Irises include gastrointestinal irritants that may trigger burning in the mouth, gagging, vomiting and diarrhea.

Lilies of the valley are extremely poisonous vegetation and include cardenolides that have an effect on the heart. Ingestion of the plant (even water from the vase) could cause vomiting, low blood strain, irregular coronary heart charge, seizures and demise.

Cannas and ginger are thought of to be unhazardous, however once more remember that any plant materials could cause delicate abdomen upset.

Whether or not you’re planting bulbs in your yard, forcing them inside or chopping them for bouquets, make certain your pets should not have entry to the vegetation. Prevention is necessary, particularly for bulbs. Be certain to retailer them in secure locations. Additionally it is necessary to maintain the labels that include the Latin names, simply in case your pets do determine to pattern a few of the plant.

Name your veterinarian when you suspect your pet has eaten any of the doubtlessly poisonous vegetation listed right here or is exhibiting gastrointestinal indicators akin to vomiting or diarrhea.

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