Poisonous House Plants

Common names
Amaryllis, Jersey Lily, Lily Langtry

Botanical name
Amaryllis

Poisonous parts
Bulb

Poisonous component
Lycorine

Notes
The principal irritant is present in small amounts so large quantities of the bulb must be eaten to cause symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting). 

Amaryllis, which comes from South Africa, was introduced in the 18th century. Hippeastrum originates from The Americas and is commonly, and incorrectly, sold as Amaryllis. "Naked ladies" are sometimes also marketed as Amaryllis but are actually from another species and is more commonly known as the "Resurrection Lily". 

Amaryllis sp. and Hippeastrum sp. (pictured) are both from the Amaryllidaceae family and with the great deal of confusion surrounding correct identification it may be prudent to treat them as synonymous in their potential to cause harm. This Google image search of Amaryllis Belladonna displays many examples but be warned you will also find the impostors mentioned above.

Hippeastrum are easy to grow, even for novice gardeners. The popularity of these bulbs comes from the ability to be easily force them into bloom for a spectacular Winter display of color. Plant them in a pot with the top third of the bulb showing above the soil's surface (any commercial potting mix is fine). Clay pots provide a heavier base to keep the plant from falling over when the large stalks and blooms form. Clay pots will dry out faster than a plastic pot so as an alternative plant in the plastic pot and put that in a heavier decorative pot. Bright light is best but avoid direct intense light such as from a south facing window.  Water once and not again until the bulb begins to grow or the soil becomes very dry, over watering a dormant bulb will cause it to rot. Watering can be increased to weekly once the plant is about 8 inches high. No fertilizer is required as the blooms feed from the stores in the bulb. 

1.Please contact us if you can send a photo (you must be the copyright owner) of A. belladonna or A. vittata that we can post here.

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Amaryllis in full bloom
Pictured: Hippeastrum sp.

Picture required (1)
A. belladonna &/or A. vittata

Toxicity Information
Amaryllis belladonna
Amaryllis vittata

Courtesy of:
Derek B. Munro
Biological Resources Program
Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre

Poisonous House Plants
Air Cleaning House Plants
Introduction

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