Are there any poisonous aliums ? (onions ! )

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Toddy

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Where I live we have a wide range of 'wild' onion-y things. Most folks just think of the small ones as ransoms and the bigger ones as something escaped :rolleyes2: and really apart from the folks who do collect a few leaves from real ransoms, pretty much the rest are left alone.
A few I've munched for so long that I'm pretty sure they're safe eating, but it occured to me tonight when I was peeling wee bulbs....are there any that are poisonous ?

Anyone know ?

M
 

Toddy

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No, I do mean onions. Daffodils and tulips are very different bulbs. Well, at least to anyone who gardens at all.....and besides, no onion-y smell from them whatsoever.

@Erbswurst
Which ones ? and why, if they are onions ?
Is it like the ornamental peppers sold as house plants ? where they are actually edible but the producers use chemicals that most definitely are not suitable for ingestion ?
 

Kadushu

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In the past I have searched for the answer to this very question and not found any examples of poisonous alliums. I find it curious since animals seem to dislike them and given that they tend to have a nice big bulb you'd think they'd be a prized food source. I noticed alliums were listed as poisonous to guinea pigs in a pet food guide I was reading recently so perhaps they are toxic to some animals, similarly to how saponins are but not for humans.
 
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punkrockcaveman

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The only wild ones I know about are edible onions. Ramsons, three cornered leek and few flowered leek.

I have spotted a lot of ornamental aliums though, I'd imagine they are potentially toxic.
 

Broch

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I do not believe any Alliums are toxic to humans - I suppose there may be varying levels of 'reaction' but some people can't eat onions anyway.

Most (if not all) Alliums are toxic to animals such as dogs and cats - garlic being one of the worst - but, then, it has to be quite large quantities.

To be honest, you'd have to have no sense of taste or smell to mistake any other plant with a bulb for an Allium. I cannot see how daffodils and tulips could possibly get past the first smell or taste.
 
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Kadushu

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I do not believe any Alliums are toxic to humans - I suppose there may be varying levels of 'reaction' but some people can't eat onions anyway.

Most (if not all) Alliums are toxic to animals such as dogs and cats - garlic being one of the worst - but, then, it has to be quite large quantities.

To be honest, you'd have to have no sense of taste or smell to mistake any other plant with a bulb for an Allium. I cannot see how daffodils and tulips could possibly get past the first smell or taste.
I've thought that of the bitter gourd poisonings that occasionally make the news. They are SO disgustingly bitter that I can't understand why anyone would persist with eating them.
 

SaraR

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Which ones ? and why, if they are onions ?
Is it like the ornamental peppers sold as house plants ? where they are actually edible but the producers use chemicals that most definitely are not suitable for ingestion ?
He might have meant 'bulbs' rather than 'onions'.
 
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Toddy

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Two of the onion varieties I mentioned grow neat aerial bulbils. These fall off at any touch. Neat way to seed new ones, but if gathered a tasty addition to a quick stir fry. They don't need peeled, if taken really freshly, they are a sweet sharp onion taste. Very nice. Then I wondered, are these actually edible enough to recommend to others ? are there any poisonous aliums ? :dunno:

I suspect not, but I thought to ask the collective mind and see what others knew :)

I know of people for whom any alium is a digestive misery (Wayland comes to mind), but in general, for humans, are they all edible ?
 

Broch

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But there you have the problem; we all say that hazelnuts are a good edible, but I can't put a fresh one to my lips.

Some people react badly to some fungi while others can eat them.

I tend not to use the word 'poisonous' TBH; most things have a level of toxicity that if consumed in high quantities will make you ill (you can die from drinking too much water after all) but very few things are truly 'poisonous'.

So, if you have tried it and enjoyed it and it's not made you ill, I would be happy telling others. However, I usually add "it may not agree with you; if you try it it's at your risk".

Edit: having said all that I would almost guarantee that there is a volume of onions or garlic that will make anyone ill :)
 
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TLM

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Then I wondered, are these actually edible enough to recommend to others ? are there any poisonous aliums ?
I seem to have a faint recollection when a month ago was at the Uni Botanical Garden, there were some cultivated Alliums that had those small bulbils and one of the gardeners said that they can be used like the bulbs. In this case they had a mild garliccy taste.
 
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punkrockcaveman

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Two of the onion varieties I mentioned grow neat aerial bulbils. These fall off at any touch. Neat way to seed new ones, but if gathered a tasty addition to a quick stir fry. They don't need peeled, if taken really freshly, they are a sweet sharp onion taste. Very nice. Then I wondered, are these actually edible enough to recommend to others ? are there any poisonous aliums ? :dunno:

I suspect not, but I thought to ask the collective mind and see what others knew :)

I know of people for whom any alium is a digestive misery (Wayland comes to mind), but in general, for humans, are they all edible ?

Sorry Mary which varieties did you mention? do you mean the little pale yellow Berry type things you get on few flowered leek?
 

Toddy

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Sorry Mary which varieties did you mention? do you mean the little pale yellow Berry type things you get on few flowered leek?

That's the kind of thing. I suspect that there are a fair few hybrids around though, but just don't know.
I do know they all taste (and smell !) onion-y, and they don't seem to have caused me any issues, but I wondered if they were like eggs....there are no poisonous eggs, kind of thing ?
 

slowworm

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I'm not aware of any alliums to be toxic but know of several bulbs that smell or garlic/onion that are not alliums.

Ornithogalum umbellatum, for example, seems to have an onion smell but is considered toxic without careful preperations.
 

Broch

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I'm not aware of any alliums to be toxic but know of several bulbs that smell or garlic/onion that are not alliums.

Ornithogalum umbellatum, for example, seems to have an onion smell but is considered toxic without careful preperations.

All my texts say Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) foliage has no smell!

It's not a native of Britain so not one I've studied :)
 
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Toddy

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I'm not aware of any alliums to be toxic but know of several bulbs that smell or garlic/onion that are not alliums.

Ornithogalum umbellatum, for example, seems to have an onion smell but is considered toxic without careful preperations.
Thank you :)

It's one to look out for. I don't think I've ever seen it here.
I've had a look online and found some images for the plant; the leaves and flowers are different enough that I wouldn't mistake them for aliums, but the bulbs, if mixed in with others, and if they had an onion smell, I admit I might have tried. Well, until I cut them open. Not like aliums then.

otgum1853w.jpg
 

slowworm

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I don't recall seeing them myself so don't know what they smell like. I do know Ipheion uniflorum smells strongly of garlic but looking it up it seems debatable as to whether it's toxic or not.
 
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Toddy

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That's another oddity, isn't it ?
It's not going to be hardy here in a sodden wet, cold and often overcast bit of the world.

That said though, quotes like this one.....
"The leaves of the Ipheion, also known as “Garlic of the Incas,” are edible.".......doesn't say anything about the bulbs.....

:dunno:
 

Erbswurst

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Yes, sorry!

Onion and bulb translate both to German Zwiebel. We just say Zwiebel and more precisely Blumenzwiebel. Or Tulpenzwiebel for tulip bulb.

I didn't know the word bulb.

I never heard about for humans toxic allium.
 
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