Is Your Amaryllis Bulb Blooming? Did you Know it Contains Lycorine?

by | Feb 8, 2023 | 0 comments

Is your amaryllis bulb blooming? I planted mine after Christmas and it is blooming beautifully. Did you know it contains the chemical lycorine? What is it? Is it poisonous? Let’s find out more about lycorine.

Amaryllis bulb gift

You may have received a bulb for Christmas or other holiday. You planted it up and are now waiting for flowers or maybe the flowers have already appeared. Did you know it contains the compound lycorine?

minerva amaryllis blossom
Minerva blooming

What is lycorine?


Lycorine (Merriam-Webster) “is a poisonous crystalline alkaloid C16H17NO4¬†found in the bulbs of several plants of the amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae).” The clivia is also in the amaryllis family if you have one of those.

It is a harmful compound in your amaryllis bulb, leaves, and flowers. Of course, we aren’t eating them so it shouldn’t be a problem.

The reason I bring this subject up is I recently saw a conversation on Facebook. It was about amaryllis plants being poisonous for pets. I did know that, as it is in my book Bloom on page 133. I had not read about the reason, though.

amaryllis bulb planted
Amaryllis bulbs contain lycorine

Knowledge is key

I am not in any way trying to scare you from having amaryllis. I want you to be aware of what you have.

I’ve had many amaryllises and even have two right now. One getting ready to bloom and one blooming. My cat does not bother them. Of course, they are up on the table or counter and luckily, he doesn’t usually jump up there. My daughter’s cats, on the other hand, jump on everything.

So it may be a problem if you have a curious cat or puppy. Always check with the ASPCA for plant toxicity to your pet.

amaryllis buds contain lycorine
The buds contain lycorine

Which parts contain lycorine?

All parts of the plant contain lycorine. I have read that the bulb is more toxic, but I am not positive about that.

You shouldn’t allow your pets or children to nibble on any of the plant. Why would you? Sometimes kids and animals do things we don’t agree with, so it is best to keep the plants away from them. Right?

Out of harm’s way as my mom would have said.

What symptoms does lycorine cause?

If ingested, lycorine can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. I also read it causes a decreased appetite. Duh! I don’t know about you, but all those symptoms above make me not want to eat just thinking about them. It can also cause lethargy and convulsions. All of it sounds hideous!

amaryllis flowers contain lycorine
It is in the flowers, too.

Your choice

I am choosing to keep growing amaryllis. I have been for years and also have pets and had small children. We’ve never had a problem. Whether you decide to quit growing amaryllis is your choice. I did look up amaryllis art to see what was out there. You can still have the beauty of the flowers without the lycorine danger.

I certainly don’t want to alarm anyone and I hope you don’t throw your amaryllis away. I want you to be aware and informed about the plants in your home. I’m keeping mine. It is your decision if you don’t want to grow amaryllis or clivia any longer. I get it.

Have a wonderful week, plant friends! Always be informed about your plants.

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The links in this blog post contain affiliate links. If you buy a product through the link, I receive a few cents. Thank you.

P.S. I am an Amazon affiliate. If you buy anything from the links, I will receive a small compensation. Thank you in advance. Lisa

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