Lily-of-the-valley (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Lily-of-the-valley (Convallaria majalis) is a perennial outdoor ornamental herb. The plant contains cardiac glycosides as well as saponins. There are some references in the literature that mention poisoning and death in humans after accidental ingestion of the berries and leaves, and even by drinking the water that the plants were kept in. Frohne and Pfander (1983) suggest that serious cases are unlikely to occur because the glycosides are poorly absorbed. They cast doubt on the report of poisoning by ingesting water that lily-of-the- valley was standing in because experiments with animals did not substantiate these reports. However, in spite of these reservations, some cases of human poisoning are mentioned in the literature, and so these plants should be considered potentially poisonous. Because of the cardiac glycosides and saponins found in this plant, animals that have access to the plant material may be poisoned. Certainly, ingesting large quantities of lily-of-the-valley can cause problems to family pets such as cats and dogs.

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Convallaria majalis L.
Vernacular name(s):
lily-of-the-valley
Scientific family name:
Liliaceae
Vernacular family name:
lily

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Convallaria majalis

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: lily-of-the-valley - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • all parts
  • flowers
  • leaves
  • mature fruit
  • roots

References:

  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Convallotoxin is one of the most toxic naturally occurring substances affecting the heart. These glycosides cause irregularities in heart action (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • convallatoxin
  • convalloside

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Joubert, J. P. 1989. Cardiac glycosides. Pages 61-97 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. II. Glycosides. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 277 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Cats

Dogs

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Symptoms of ingestion include irregular heart rate and cold and clammy skin. Coma and death from heart failure may occur if enough plant material is ingested (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.

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