A FEW years back, I had the misfortune of ending up in hospital after eating what I thought was an onion only to find out it was a daffodil bulb.

A lengthy stay in hospital ensued but I was constantly reassured by the doctor who said I’d be out in the Spring.

This joke would probably fail even the Christmas cracker test but it apparently nearly came true this week courtesy of Marks & Spencer after displaying daffodils alongside spring onions in one of its stores.

The flowers, which can be poisonous if eaten, were displayed in the fruit and veg aisle under a “seasonal favourites” banner.

Thankfully for humankind, botanist and presenter James Wong drew attention to the display on Twitter, warning that eating daffodils “is like swallowing a box of tiny needles”.

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An M&S spokesperson said it was a “genuine error in one of our stores”.

Daffodil stems, which are widely sold in supermarkets at this time of year, can bear a resemblance to some vegetables at first glance, apparently. Health officials believe daffodil poisoning led to 10 hospitalisations in Bristol in 2012 because of their similarity to a chive used in Chinese cooking.

Mr Wong said the error was originally spotted by his mother, who took a picture of the display. He said the poisoning caused by accidentally eating them can be “excruciating” and urged M&S to improve training for staff.

Responding to him on Twitter, an M&S spokesperson said: “We have contacted the store and the signage has been updated and onions moved. As a precaution we’re reminding all stores to make sure the flowers are displayed properly.

“Customer safety is our priority and all daffodils have an on-pack warning that they are not safe to consume.”

Phew, thank goodness for Twitter and the eagle-eyed Wong clan for averting a potential disaster.

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After all, it is quite hard to spot the difference between daffodils, which have bright yellow trumpet flowers and spring onions, which don’t. It’s not an easy mistake to make.

How many of us have picked up a bottle of red wine vinegar instead of red wine in the supermarket, only to laugh at our mistake when we get home. Likewise, bread rolls and a loaf of bread and coconuts and coconut shampoo leave supermarkets a minefield of potential mix-ups with hilarious results.

Of course, none of these ever happen as shoppers are not nearly as stupid as people like Mr Wong seem to think we are. Oranges are often placed next to lemons in the fruit aisles, but are never mixed up by anyone. Oranges are, well, orange, while lemons are not as they are yellow. Limes on the other hand are green and are also impossible to mix up with an orange.

Obviously it is not a good idea to eat daffodils as they are poisonous and M&S probably shouldn’t have put them next to spring onions – just in case.

But the displays all have labels telling shoppers what they are in case there is any doubt.

If a normal shopper is concerned then they would simply stroll across to the customer service desk and raise it.

Very few would take to Twitter, especially while doing your weekly messages.

It is an illustration of the social media obsessed world that we appear to live in that people are no longer happy to complain in person to a fellow human being – they must cause a stir online instead.

Garnering hundreds of likes along the way is even better and is the measurement that a lot of people seem to live by. Perhaps if they put their phones down for a second and stopped raging at the world on Twitter and concentrated on the task at hand – like shopping – then catastrophic errors wouldn’t happen.

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For centuries, people have been able to navigate the pitfalls of complicated things such as shops without coming to harm so why do people like Mr Wong seem to think it’s OK to lecture people?

It’s the worst sort of mansplaining in that it attempts to patronise absolutely everyone, and not just women.

We have all stood and admired daffodil displays at this time of year and never once have any of us thought they look good enough to eat.

Nobody really needs to be told they might be bad for us, we sort of instinctively know.

M&S should be given the benefit of the doubt on this one as the worker who put them where they were probably thought most shoppers could tell the difference between a flower and a vegetable.

But it appears not.