Lilium martagon

Page 7 from Une Semaine de Bonté by Max Ernst

The Turk’s cap lily is one of summer’s
most exotic blooms. How sumptuous
they can be as dark varieties, springing open
to curl back on themselves and reveal why
they are called the Turk’s caps.
All have a flash of orange pollen
which is lethal to cats.
As little as two leaves or part of a single
flower have resulted in deaths.
Clinical signs of lily intoxication
include salivation, vomiting, anorexia and depression.
Polyuric renal failure leads to dehydration
and anuric renal failure and death results.
The public must be made aware—
the majority cannot correctly identify
the plants in their own homes.
I first saw this European Turk’s cap
running wild among the bright Astrantia.
The scent of a lily is an incredible thing.


Lines repurposed from Dan Pearson, “Turk’s cap lily is pure delight“. The Guardian (21 July 2013) and Kevin T. Fitzgerald, “Lily toxicity in the cat“. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine 25: 213–7 (2010).

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