Botanist criticises 'clean eating' Instagrammer for toxic-plant-topped pudding

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By Emma Beswick
Botanist criticises 'clean eating' Instagrammer for toxic-plant-topped pudding

Brightly-coloured, edible flowers have recently enjoyed a surge in popularity on dishes posted to social media networks.

The Instagram accounts of "clean eating" advocates are littered with delicious-looking blooms but not all are as harmless as they might seem, it would appear.

James Wong, a botanist and food writer, set the record straight on Twitter, calling out a picture of a chia-seed pudding with "toxic flowers" on top.

"Another day, another ‘clean eating’ Instagrammer posting images of toxic flowers on food," he wrote.

“It may not contain dairy or gluten gasp but it does contain the toxic plant alkaloid, lycorine."

Wong went on to list the possible side effects eating this particular flower would cause, which included "itching, swelling, (and in quantity) nausea, vomiting & convulsions".

He followed up by posting a rule of thumb for anyone thinking of consuming plants found in the garden or in the wild.

"If you are not 100% sure something is edible, just don’t eat it," he wrote.

Users of the social media platform lauded Wong's message, with one writing: "There's good advice."

Another commented: "Very tired of hearing how what is natural is safe/good for you when I have several things out in my garden that could make you very sick/dead. (Granted not all invited but all 'natural'.)"