Tulip (Tulipa): A perennial plant, which grows from a bulb and develops flowers in the early spring. There are over 100 species of tulips with many different colour variations.

Is it toxic?:
Handling of tulip bulbs, and to a lesser extent other parts of the plants, may cause allergy reactions in susceptible people. This is manifested as dermatitis and is often called "tulip bulb dermatitis" or "tulip itch".  People who handle the bulbs frequently such as gardeners or nursery workers are most affected. Ingestion of the bulb may cause an upset stomach.

Health Effects:

Skin:  Tulip bulb dermatitis usually affects the hands and is characterized by redness, swelling, itching, eczema and blisters. Fingernails may become brittle and cracked.
Ingestion: Possible upset stomach if the bulbs are ingested.

What to do:

Skin: Wash skin thoroughly with soap and water.  See your family doctor if dermatitis develops.
Ingestion: Do not induce vomiting. Rinse out mouth and drink a glass of water or milk. Ensure a good fluid intake if vomiting occurs.

If symptoms persist after the above first aid measures contact the Poison Control Centre.

How can I prevent exposure?
Wear gloves when handing tulip bulbs. Wash hands thoroughly after gardening.

Need more information:
Contact the Poison Control Centre.


© 2010 BC Drug and Poison Information Centre