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Snowdrop, Galanthus

As early as late winter, the slender stalks of the snowdrops with their teardrop-shaped, snow-white flowers shoot out of the partially snow-covered ground. They are the first heralds of early spring. But the gracefulness of these pretty little garden dwellers shouldn't hide their toxicity. Small children and younger pets such as dogs and cats are particularly at risk, although a lethal dose is not known.


What to look out for

Every year, a number of calls are made to poison control centers due to accidental ingestion of parts of plants, including snowdrops (Galanthus). Young children are most commonly affected. While these plants don't really resemble any other edible crop, it's easy for young children to mistake the onion for traditional kitchen onions. And it's a well-known fact that younger children in particular put just about everything in their mouths.

Snowdrops in the garden

children and pets

It is therefore all the more important to explain to children that and why they should avoid snowdrops and, above all, not eat them. Or you do without snowdrops in the garden as long as they children are still small or pets can come into contact with it. In adults, the mistaken consumption of up to three onions usually has no significant effects. Here the dose makes the difference. It looks different again pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs, poisoning can very well occur here.

Rabbits in the garden

Poisonous parts of plants

In this country, the small or common snowdrop is best known, although there are also species that look very similar, some of which have become wild over time. Snowdrops belong to the narcissus or amaryllis family, which are known to be poisonous.

  • these plants are poisonous in all plant parts
  • The alkaloids contained are responsible for the toxic effect
  • Concentration of alkaloids highest in onion
  • in the onion it is mainly amaryllidaceae alkaloids
  • in stems, leaves and flowers, the toxic substances galantamine, tazettin and lycorine
  • Comparatively low concentration in the plant parts above ground

medicinal plant

Despite the fact that snowdrops are poisonous, the homeopathic plant alkaloid galanthamine is able to treat diseases such as dementia or slow down the progression of Alzheimer's.

symptoms of poisoning

Symptoms of poisoning usually only appear after consumption, although the aggressive plant sap of these plants can also cause a contact allergy in sensitive people. After eating small amounts of flowers, leaves or bulbs, it can nausea, Vomit, diarrhea and increased salivation come. Also drowsiness, sweats and circulatory problems have been observed in some cases, particularly when consuming large amounts of the onion. With a strong poisoning can even signs of paralysis appear. The symptoms of poisoning in the animals mentioned are very similar to those in humans.

Snowdrops with snow-white flowers

First aid measures

Countermeasures in case of poisoning

After eating a few leaves or flowers or small parts of the onion, it is usually sufficient to drink a lot of liquid in the form of water or tea to administer. In addition, the person concerned should be observed, especially children. If you are unsure, it is always advisable to get a to see a doctor or possibly also the Poison Control Center to choose or contact one of the Poison Centers to turn. If pets show symptoms of poisoning, a visit to the vet advised.

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