Lily of the valley
Lily of the valley is a flowering plant. Lily of the valley poisoning occurs when someone eats parts of this plant.
This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call the local emergency number (such as 911), or the local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.
Poisonous ingredients may include:
Note: This list may not include all poisonous ingredients.
The flowers, fruit, and leaves of the lily of the valley plant are poisonous.
Poisoning symptoms can affect many parts of the body.
HEART AND BLOOD
EYES, EARS, NOSE, MOUTH, AND THROAT
STOMACH AND INTESTINES
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Excessive urination at night
Note: Depression, loss of appetite, and halos are usually only seen in chronic overdose cases.
Seek immediate medical help. DO NOT make a person throw up unless told to do so by poison control or a health care provider.
Before Calling Emergency
Get the following information:
- Person's age, weight, and condition
- Name and part of the plant swallowed, if known
- Time it was swallowed
- Amount swallowed
Your local poison control center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States. This national hotline will let you talk to experts in poisoning. They will give you further instructions.
This is a free and confidential service. All local poison control centers in the United States use this national number. You should call if you have any questions about poisoning or poison prevention. It does not need to be an emergency. You can call for any reason, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What to Expect at the Emergency Room
The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure. Symptoms will be treated as appropriate.
The person may receive:
- Activated charcoal
- Blood and urine tests
- Breathing support, including oxygen, through a tube through the mouth into the lungs, and a breathing machine (ventilator)
- Chest x-ray
- ECG (electrocardiogram, or heart tracing)
- Fluids through a vein (IV)
- Medicines to treat symptoms, including an antidote to reverse the effects of the poison
How well you do depends on the amount of poison swallowed and how quickly treatment is received. The faster you get medical help, the better the chance for recovery.
Symptoms last for 1 to 3 days and may require a hospital stay. Death is unlikely.
DO NOT touch or eat any plant with which you are not familiar. Wash your hands after working in the garden or walking in the woods.
Graeme KA. Toxic plant ingestions. In: Auerbach PS, Cushing TA, Harris NS, eds. Auerbach's Wilderness Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 65.
Latham MD. Toxicology. In: Kleinman K, Mcdaniel L, Molloy M, eds. The Harriet Lane Handbook :The Johns Hopkins Hospital. 22nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 3.
Lim CS, Aks SE. Plants, mushrooms, and herbal medications. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 158.
Last reviewed on: 11/13/2021
Reviewed by: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.