TV botanist's shock after Instagrammer posts picture of toxic flower petals in a smoothie

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A TV botanist has slammed food bloggers for posting photos of recipes featuring toxic plant matter.

James Wong, who has appeared on the BBC's Countryfile, posted a picture of a smoothie dessert he had seen on a 'clean eating' Instagram account.

However, the dish was topped with flower petals which contain the alkaline compound lycorine, which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities. He did not name the user of the account.

James wrote on his Twitter page: "Another day, another ‘clean eating’ Instagrammer posting images of toxic flowers on food. It may not contain dairy or gluten, but it does contain the toxic plant alkaloid, lycorine. Symptoms: Itching, swelling, (and in quantity) nausea, vomiting & convulsions."

Most cases of lycorine poisoning result from eating daffodil bulbs, as these are sometimes mistaken for onions by foragers.

However, the alkaline does have pharmaceutical properties, and is currently being tested for its use in anti-cancer therapies.

36-year-old Wong trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew.