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Thursday - October 22, 2015

From: Spruce Grove, AB
Region: Canada
Topic: Poisonous Plants
Title: Do Delphiniums Transfer Toxins to Strawberries?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Is it safe to eat strawberries grown beside delphiniums?

ANSWER:

The USDA has a good information page on their Poisonous Plant Research page about Delphiniums and Larkspurs in relation to consumption by livestock.

Plants are most toxic during early growth, but toxicity gradually declines over the growing season. However, toxin levels may increase in the flowers and pods even late in the season. The toxic substances are mixtures of several alkaloids. These alkaloids and their relative toxicity and concentrations vary between individual plants, at different locations and between larkspur species. The method of toxicity has been identified as neuro-muscular paralysis, leading to respiratory failure, bloat and often death.

All parts of all larkspur species are poisonous, but new growth and the seeds contain the highest concentrations of toxic substances.

In Volume 49, Issue 10 of Clinical Toxicology, El Rachid and others write on page 949: Human delphinium poisoning is exceptional. The only case in the literature was reported in 1996. After the intake of 1 gram of Delphinium root, a teenager presented ventricular tachycardia and convulsions. The lack of human clinical cases does not allow us to compare these symptoms to other studies.

So the literature shows no instance of toxins being transfered from the Delphinium to the strawberries, since the Nova Scotia Museum says there is a very potent toxin in the sap, flowers, seeds and leaves of the Delphinium, it would be wise not to take the chance of cross contamination and include a buffer between the plants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Flat-head larkspur
Delphinium bicolor

Flat-head larkspur
Delphinium bicolor

Carolina larkspur
Delphinium carolinianum ssp. carolinianum

Zigzag larkspur
Delphinium patens

Upland larkspur
Delphinium nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum

Red larkspur
Delphinium nudicaule

Woodland strawberry
Fragaria vesca

Woodland strawberry
Fragaria vesca

Woodland strawberry
Fragaria vesca

Beach strawberry
Fragaria chiloensis

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