Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
 

News:

Read DD's
Advice for New Gardeners


Author Topic: Are sweet peas toxic?  (Read 6583 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

veggienut

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: essex
  • Posts: 30
Are sweet peas toxic?
« on: May 15, 2009, 12:54 »
Hi.

Planted some sweet peas  from seed and they have all grown!! ::)

However  I have been told that they are toxic and I am in the process of removing them from the school.  :mad:

I am currently building a vegetable plot with two classes of reception, so thats why I have major concerns!

Understand that daffodil bulbs are toxic too yet the school has hundreds of them every spring!

Would really appreciate some help :)
veggienut


Kristen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Suffolk
  • Posts: 3062
    • K's Garden blog
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 13:30 »
I read different views on this ...

Mature seeds are poisonous.  I also read that young seed pods can be cooked and eaten.

Either way you don't want Sweet Peas to produce any seed pods - because if they do they will stop flowering - so either pick the flowers for the vase, or dead head them.

Assuming you can prevent mature seeds forming I'm not sure about the rest.  I read that the whole plant is poisonous; my Mother grew loads when I was a kid, as do I now, and she was fastidious about reminding me that Aconites etc. were poisonous when we picked flowers, but she never mentioned Sweet Peas (of course she might not have known!).

I've never had any ill effects, and up to reading this never thought to wash my hands after picking / arranging them.

I have no idea if this is authoritative, but it says you can cook & eat young pods:

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Lathysp.htm

Maybe the reason I am still alive is that it says "Toxic only if large quantities are eaten"
« Last Edit: May 15, 2009, 13:32 by Kristen »
My Blog last major update 30th December 2012

RichardA

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: North Lincolnshire
  • Posts: 1404
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2009, 13:45 »
I understand mature sweet peas seeds are toxic but the level of toxicity or the how much is required to do harm level is not clear. Lots of things are toxic under certain circumstances and at certain levels incl potatoes, apple pips, lettuce, etc etc. Daffs also lead to dermatitis and dermatitis contracted when working with daffs and other bulbs is a reportable disease under UK legislation.
There is a very old joke about someone who ate daff bulbs by mistake for onions and was seriously ill in hospital but is making good progress and it is hoped he will be out by early spring but I won't tell that one
R

Eatyourgreens

  • Experienced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 263
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2009, 13:53 »
There are so many common garden plants that are toxic and some deadly.

In my garden we have a Laburnum tree (Also a pea family plant) that has toxic seeds. We have Monkshood, a perennial with a deadly root that looks like and occasionally gets mistaken (The root, not the plant) for Horseradish, Lily of the Valley is also poisonous and often mistaken for wild garlic (Not when flowering), I could go on, add to that any mushroom that could pop up.

Yet I still have my children.

Surely it is better for children to learn about these things.


Bob

tam

  • Experienced Member
  • ***
  • Location: Beds, UK
  • Posts: 423
    • The Rabbit House
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2009, 17:29 »
Tomato & potato plants are toxic, so are green potatoes and yes daffodil bulbs.  Even buttercups.

I would make sure you have a clear distinction between areas where there are plants you can eat and areas where there are plants that look pretty. Incorporate clear rules into the learning eg not eating anything you haven't asked about and how some plants look similar but aren't okay to eat.

Even if you clear the school of harmful plants then what's to stop the children going home and eating something there. I think it's much better to teach them how to grow/eat safe that try and 'health & safety' them to death :)

celjaci

  • Experienced Member
  • ***
  • Location: North Yorks
  • Posts: 386
  • celjaci = Bosnian peasant!
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2009, 18:54 »
I agree with above replies. It seems we are getting too worried in this risk assessed age.

Garden centres now have labels warning that certain plants are poisonous but apparently it's years since anyone had serious ill effects from eating garden plants in this country.
Playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order!

Kristen

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Location: Suffolk
  • Posts: 3062
    • K's Garden blog
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2009, 19:28 »
I agree with the "Best to teach them what's safe, and what's not ..." but:

"but apparently it's years since anyone had serious ill effects from eating garden plants in this country"

I do wonder if the knowledge is still being passed on from generation to generation [to the same degree]?

Town-folk presumably didn't have to worry about lots of this in days gone by - they didn't come into contact with the plants often enough.

Country-folk spent a lot of time transferring skills, such as Veg and Plant growing; and lots of helpful "old-boys" (actually in my case there were many more helpful "old-girls") who were happy to explain a thing-or-two to young whipper-snappers.

But a lot has changed. More Leisure Activities for the young, less time to learn the old skills. There are lots of Newbies on the Net, asking beginner questions; maybe it was always thus - lots of people starting gardening as they grew older (particularly in wartime I suppose), but I do wonder whether the majority would have learnt the knowledge from their elders in days gone by?

I'm always thrilled to hear of school projects growing plants and giving the children a potential interest in that hobby (not just gardening - Astronomy, Bee keeping, ... any such hobby).  What a waste to discover that you love a hobby in your '50s if you could have caught that particular hobby-bug at school.

So to the OP "go for it".  Sweet Peas have colours and scent that will captivate the children, please don't exclude them because they are toxic if eaten in unrealistically huge amounts.

Fruity

  • New Member
  • *
  • Location: Hampshire
  • Posts: 31
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 11:29 »
Seet peas have been used for years in schools and colleges to demonstrate Mendelian genetic laws. I'm pretty sure that no student has ever become ill after handling these.

Stripey_cat

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: Oxfordshire
  • Posts: 595
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2009, 10:47 »
Sweet peas are perfectly safe to touch, but the seeds are poisonous if you eat enough of them.  Unlike, say, monkshood, which can affect you just from handling it.

-----

Yes, we are careful around kids.  This is because town-bred kids (or stupid ones!) will try to eat anything, either because they think it'll make them look cool to eat something poisonous, or because they mistake it for something edible. 

In my own experience, the former is represented by a kid at my primary school who ate laburnam seeds (luckily the witnesses got him straight to hospital and they were out of his stomach within half an hour; since he'd not chewed them the only ill effects were from the stomach pump and the doctors chewing his ear off). 

The latter, mostly younger kids, have included (in my own acquaintance) ragwort, yew seeds, tulip bulbs and datura flowers.  In the last three cases, the kids were OK because someone saw and hooked the stuff out of their mouths before they'd swallowed much (the yew was just one berry), and then made them sick. 

The ragwort showed a spectacular dermatitis with some scarring and a low fever, but wasn't otherwise ill (the stuff is pretty bitter, so I think he spat it out himself; the inside of his mouth was a mess, but no further back than the hard palate).  Alarmingly, his mother couldn't understand why we were getting so panicked about "pretty yellow daisies"; when I volunteered to come round her house and weed the damn garden myself she took the point.

As with almost everything else, sensible kids (and parents) need no protection, but the majority of people are both stupid and ignorant, with the particular "it won't happen to me" delusion, so they need protecting from themselves (because dealing with the consequences of accidental poisoning in a child, even if the parent is a blithering idiot, is terrifying).

Eatyourgreens

  • Experienced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 263
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 10:49 »
Don't you think we are interfering with natures own version of natural selection here, no wonder the world is dumbing down if we keep on saving the terminally stupid from themselves !!!!




Bob

Stripey_cat

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Location: Oxfordshire
  • Posts: 595
Re: Are sweet peas toxic?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2009, 11:14 »
Sadly eugenics has a bad reputation ;)



FREE Allotment Garden Newsletter
Your Name:
Your Email:
Privacy/More Info
Share via twitter