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תתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתת
ת                            Poisonous Plants                            ת
ת                        Extension Goat Handbook                         ת
ת              Contributed by National Agricultural Library              ת
תתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתתת
This material was contributed from collections at the National Agricultural
Library.  However, users should direct all inquires about the contents to
authors or originating agencies.
   POISONOUS PLANTS
   D. L. Ace, L. J. Hutchinson; Pennsylvania State U., University Park


Factors contributing to plant poisoning are starvation, accidental
eating and browsing habits of  animals. Starvation is the most common
reason.  Most woodland or swampy-ground pastures contain many species of
poisonous plants. These are usually eaten only when animals have nothing
else  to eat.

Certain plants are accidentally eaten by animals  as they graze. A
notable example of this is water  hemlock. This plant emerges in wet
areas which are  the first to become green in early spring. Animals
eager to eat the fresh young grass may accidentally bite off the crown
of this plant with fatal results.  Another type of accidental poisoning
occurs when  large amounts of cockle are present in wheat which  is fed
as grain.

Some animals on good feed in a dry lot or excellent pasture become
bored with the same  regular diet. They may eat unpalatable weeds or
ornamental plants growing along fences. Goats  and cattle like to vary
the best kind of diet with a  little ''browse''. Many ornamental or wild
shrubs  may be consumed, not because they are palatable  but because the
animal craves variation in its diet.

The severity of poisoning is related to the quantity of material
eaten, the specie of animal eating the  plant, portion of the plant and
condition of the  plant eaten, level of ground moisture, general  health
of the animal prior to ingesting the  substance and the age and size of
the animal.  Therefore some livestock can eat some of the bad  plants
and under several of the mentioned conditions, fail to show symptoms of
injury or poisoning. At other times death may occur.

Scores of plants contain material toxic to  animals if eaten in
sufficient quantity. Some of the  plants are well known, some quite
rare, some are  useful, others are valued ornamentals. They may  be
grouped by the type of poison contained, the  effect of their toxins or
the part of the plant containing the poison. Some plants may contain
several poisonous principals.

Cyanogenetic Plants
These contain under certain conditions, prussic  acid (hydrocyanic
acid), a deadly poison which interfers with the oxygen-carrying ability
of the  blood. Death in these cases is usually rapid and  with little
outward symptoms. Members of the  prunus family of plants, especially
wild cherries,  are dangerous. Peaches, plums and other stone  fruits
belong to this group of plants. Wilting of the  green leaves caused by
frost, storm damage, or by  cutting, changes a glucoside found in the
leaves to  hydrocyanic acid (HCN) and sugar. The sweet,  wilted leaves
are thus more attractive to animals  than normal foliage. HCN content
varies widely;  but under some conditions a few handfuls of leaves  may
be enough to kill a horse or cow. This type of  poisoning should be
suspected when sudden death  of animals follows windstorms or early
sharp  frosts. These leaves apparently lose their poison  after they
have become dry; the limp, green or partially yellowed leaves are the
most dangerous.  Sudan grass and sorghums are also cyanogenetic  plants.
These plants are usually deadly when  damaged or frozen. Aftermath
sprouts following an early frost are particularly dangerous. Very
little sudan grass poisoning occurs from animals  trampling down plants
and later eating them  although this is often listed as dangerous. In
dry  weather, sudan grass is often pastured to the  ground without ill
effects. After sudan grass has  been repeatedly frozen and the plants
are completely dead, it is safe but not very valuable for  pasture.

Once frozen, sorghum, sorghum sudan hybrids,  or their aftermath
should never be pastured. As  long as the plants show any green color
they may  be very poisonous. Both frosted sorghum and  sudan grass can
be best and most safely utilized by  ensiling them for at least two
weeks before feeding.  Normal ensilage fermentation safely eliminates
the  poisonous principle.

Common milkweed, a perennial that grows three  or four feet high,
has a heavy stem and leaves and  is frequently found in pastures. The
milky white  sap is sticky and has a bitter taste but livestock  eat the
topmost, tender leaves if good forage isn't  abundant. Remove plants by
spading, pulling,  cutting or plowing extensive areas and planting to
cultivated crops for a year or two.

Horse nettle is a perennial plant, two-feet-high,  with spiny stems
and leaves, and smooth, orange-yellow berries. Fruits are more toxic
than the  foliage. It's a common plant in grasslands and  fields and is
a member of the nightshade family.

Black nightshade is an annual plant, two-feet  high, with many
branches. Leaves are variably  smooth or hairy. The stems angled in
cross-section  and sometimes spiny. Clusters of white flowers,
one-fourth inch across, bloom in midsummer and  are followed by small,
black fruits. Both the foliage  and green berries are toxic. The ripe
berries are not  poisonous. Black nightshade is widely distributed.

Mountain laurel is an evergreen shrub of the Appalachian Mountain
region. Plants grow five-feet  tall and have glossy green leaves.
Flowers appear  in clusters at the ends of branches. Livestock eat  the
leaves in early spring when little other foliage  is available.
Weakness, nausea, salivation and  vomitting are symptoms of poisoning.
The preventative is to keep livestock out of areas where mountain laurel
is abundant.

Plants Containing Deadly Alkaloids
Fortunately these plants are unpalatable for  most wild and domestic
animals. Water hemlock  and poison hemlock are deadly. Poisoning rarely
occurs except in early spring when young plants  are accidentally eaten,
but the roots, stems, leaves  and flowers are always poisonous. Look for
and  learn to identify these plants in the summer when  they are large
and showy. The hemlocks are  members of the carrot family and have
showy,  white, umbrella-like flower heads. Poison hemlock  needs dry
land to grow and is often found in  gardens as an ornamental plant.
Flowers are often  incorporated into large mixed flower sprays in  rural
churches and at social events.

Water hemlock - a perennial frequently found in  wet, fertile soil -
is a five-foot-tall plant with thick  rootstocks, doubly compound leaves
(fernlike) and  small white flowers in umbrella-like clusters.

The roots are the most poisonous parts of the  plants. Cut the thick
rootstocks lengthwise and  you'll find air cavities separated by
plate-like partitions of solid tissue. Drops of yellowish, aromatic,
resin-like exudate containing the poisonous  alkaloid appear at the
cuts. Leaves and seeds contain little of the toxic substance and eaten
in small  quantities, either green or in hay, do little harm.

Water hemlock starts growth in early spring. Its  green foliage may
show up before most other  plants leaf out. Livestock tug at the tender
leaves  and pull roots from the soil which are still soft from  late
winter rains. The combinations of foliage and  roots in considerable
quantity can be fatal.

As a preventative, pull water hemlock plants  from the soil during
the summer when they can  readily be found and destroy them. Plants
usually  are not numerous in an area.

Poison hemlock is a hollow-stemmed biennial,  four-feet high, with
double compound leaves  resembling parsley and a large, white taproot
like  parsnip. Flowers are showy, umbrella-like clusters  and appear in
late summer. The poison is a volatile  alkaloid, coniine, found in the
foliage all season and  in the seeds in late summer. Most livestock
poisoning comes in the spring from eating fresh foliage.

Mayapple, bloodroot, pokeweed, nightshade and  hellebore are other
alkaloidal plants. They are rarely  eaten except when animals are
starving for better  feed. Deaths from alkaloidal plants usually result
from severe digestive disturbances, pain and nervous symptoms. Animals
usually die in convulsions.

Plants That Are Photodynamic
This means photo-sensitive animals get a reaction. Conditions
necessary for a reaction to occur  are: 1) the animals must have white
areas of skin  (unpigmented); 2) the animals must eat a sufficient
quantity of the plants; and 3) the animals must be  exposed to bright
sun. In typical cases, an animal  suddenly becomes sore on the white
areas of their  bodies. Whole areas of white skin may raise up and
slough off. White goats may become severely affected and die from this
condition.

Some common plants which cause photosensitization are rape, alsike
clover, buckwheat, lantana, St. John's wort, and ornamental hypericums.
Both St. John's wort and ornamental hypericums  have showy,
golden-yellow flowers. They are not  readily eaten by animals. White
goats frequently  become badly ''sunburned'' when they are on rape
pasture in bright, sunny weather with little or no  shade. Alsike clover
or other legumes may produce  these symptoms in dairy goats under the
above  conditions.

Plants That Produce Mechanical Injury
A number of plants may have a spiny covering,  long beards, fine
hairs and when eaten may cause  mechanical injuries or form hair balls
in the  stomach and intestines. Sand bur, downy brome  grass,
squirrel-tail grass, poverty grass, mesquite,  cocklebur and clover are
some of the offending  plants.

Some Other Poisonous Plants
    Comparatively few plants containing poisons  grow in areas usually
used as pastures.

Bracken fern is very common in wooded areas and  unimproved
pastures. Most animals will not eat  bracken fern if there is adequate
pasture or other  feed. In ruminants, such as goats, bracken fern  must
be consumed over a period of several weeks  before toxicity signs
develop. Affected animals are  listless, show weight loss and may
exhibit small  hemorrhages on the mucous membranes. They may  die from
internal hemorrhages.

Buttercups contain an acrid, volatile alkaloid-amenenol, strong
enough to blister the skin and  cause inflammation of the intestinal
tract. Cattle  and goats poisoned by buttercups produce bitter  milk and
a reddish color. The toxic material  volatilizes and is lost when
buttercups are dried as  in hay.

A heavy growth of buttercup is an indication of  low soil fertility.
Have the soil analyzed and apply  ground lime and fertilizers as their
need is shown.  The increased grass growth soon crowds out buttercups.

Poison ivy is widespread over most of the United  States. It's a
shrub or vine with woody stems that  climb by attaching aerial rootlets
to fences, walls,  trees, etc. Leaves have three leaflets, glossy green
and smooth at the edges. Inflammation of the skin  from contact with the
plants is an affliction of  goat-keepers more frequently than of goats.
The infection can become serious and may need medical  attention. Kill
poison ivy with a herbicide.

Several ornamental plants that are green outdoors or indoors are
highly toxic. Goats should not  be fed clippings from ornamental plants.
Common  poisonous ornamentals are yew, delphinium,  oleander, larkspur
and lily-of-the-valley. Goats  should not be allowed access to these
plants.

NOTE: USDA and the State Department of Agriculture in each state can
offer  help  in providing reference material on  poisonous plants.

A Listing of Some Plants Known to Cause  Problems When Eaten by
Livestock   (Source: Stock Poisoning Plants of North Carolina, Bulletin
No. 144, by James  Hardin; Plants  Poisonous to Livestock in the Western
States,  USDA Information Bulletin No. 415; Poisonous  Plants of
Pennsylvania, Bulletin No. 531,  PA  Department of Agriculture)

Cyanogenetic Plants (Glucosides - Glycosides)
Arrow grass  Black Locust  Blue Cohosh Broomcarn  Buckeye (Horse
chestnut)   Cherry  Choke Cherry  Corn Cockle Dogbane  Elderberry  Hemp
Horse Nettle   Indian Hemp  Ivy  Johnson grass Kafir  Laurel  Leucothoe
Lily of the Valley   Maleberry  Marijuana  Milkweeds Milo  Nightshade
Oleander  Rhododendron   Sevenbark  Silver  Sneezewood Sorghum  Stagger
brush  Sudan grass  Velvet grass White snakeroot  Wild Black Cherry
Wild Hydrangea

Alkaloid Containing Plants
Aconite  Allspice  Black Snake Root  Bloodroot Blue Cohosh  Boxwood
Celandine  Common Poppy  Crotalaria  Crow Poison  Death Camas  Dicentra
False Hellebore   False Jessamine  Fume wort  Hellebore  Hemp  Horse
Nettle  Indian Hemp   Indian poke  Jimson weed  Larkspur  Lobelia
Lupines  Marijuana  Monkshood   Moonseed  Night shade  Pink Death Camas
Poison Darnel  Poison Hemlock   Poison rye grass  Rattleweed  Rock Poppy
Spider Lily Spotted cowbane   Spotted Water Hemlock  Stagger grass
Staggerweed  Sweet Shrub  Thorn Apple   Varebells  Wild Parsnip
Wolfs-bane  Yellow Jessamine

Volatile or Essential Oils as Poisonous Principle
Baneberry  Buttercups Crowfoot  Ground Ivy  Lobelia  Snakeberry  Spurge
White Cohish

    Saponin Containing Plants
Bagpod  Coffee weed  Purple sesban  Rattlebox  Soapwort

Photosensitizing Plants
Buckwheat  Goat weed  Klamath weed  Lantana  Rape  St. John's Wort

Plants That Cause Mechanical Injury
Clover  Cocklebur  Downy Brome grass  Sand Bur  Squirrel tail grass

Tannin (Tannic Acid) as Poisonous Principle
Oaks

Poisonous Principle Not Exactly Known
Inkberry  Poke weed

Resins as Poisonous Principle
Discarded Christmas trees  Ponderosa Pine needles


 

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