Is it OK to touch delphinium?

Answered by James Kissner

Delphinium, also known as larkspur, is a beautiful flowering plant that can be commonly found in gardens and landscapes. However, it is important to exercise caution when dealing with this plant, as it can be toxic if consumed or touched.

One of the main concerns with delphinium is its poisonous nature. The entire plant, including its leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds, contains toxic chemicals. These chemicals are primarily diterpenoid alkaloids, such as methyllycaconitine, which can have harmful effects on humans if ingested.

If someone consumes delphinium, whether accidentally or intentionally, it can lead to severe digestive issues. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In more severe cases, it can even cause cardiac and respiratory problems. Therefore, it is crucial to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.

In addition to the risks associated with ingestion, delphinium can also cause skin irritation if touched. The toxic chemicals present in the plant can cause dermatitis or allergic reactions in some individuals. Skin contact with the sap or any part of the plant can result in redness, itching, and even blistering. It is recommended to wear protective gloves when handling delphinium to minimize the risk of skin irritation.

It’s worth noting that the younger parts of the plant, such as new growth or seedlings, tend to contain higher concentrations of toxic compounds. This means that extra caution should be taken when dealing with these parts of the plant. It’s best to avoid contact altogether, especially if you have sensitive skin or a history of allergies.

To sum it up, delphinium is a toxic plant that should be handled with care. Its consumption can lead to severe digestive issues, while touching the plant can cause skin irritation. It is essential to educate yourself and others about the potential dangers of this plant, especially if you have it in your garden or come across it in the wild.