Pastur weed with large green seed pods

Ecoogical Weed Management Book Published

Dr. Charles “Chuck” Mohler’s book has been released! Read about it in Craig Cramer’s news article on the Cornell Agriculture and Life Sciences website.

Toxicity Concerns For Forage After Frost

We received a timely update on potential toxicity concerns with certain forages after frost. For more information, please see Oregon State University’s article or this one from the University of Kentucky.

Fall Weed Seeds and Equipment Clean-Out Article

A new article by Lynn Sosnoskie of Cornell University was published in the Cornell Extension Field Crop News today.

Clean that second-hand machinery before using! Remember that all equipment can move weeds from one field to another, and plan appropriately.

Late postemergence herbicide options for soybeans

By: Mike Hunter, CCE-North Country Regional Ag Team

A very popular question has been “What can I spray on my soybeans to control large weeds that weren’t controlled earlier in the season?”. Let me start out by saying that if you have waist high weeds in your soybeans the damage is done and most, if not all, herbicide applications will be a form of “revenge spraying”. Spraying very tall weeds usually provides unsatisfactory weed control. If you still have some weeds that are 6 inches tall or less there is a better chance to control them.

Roundup or glyphosate can be applied through the R2 (full flowering) growth stage on Roundup Ready or glyphosate tolerant soybeans. Enlist One and Enlist Duo can also be applied throughout the R2 growth stage in Enlist or E3 soybeans. Once the soybeans have reached the R3 (beginning pod) growth stage these products are no longer an option.

If the soybeans are at R3 (a pod 3/16” long found at one of the first four uppermost nodes) Cobra, Resource and Basagran are the options that are left. Cobra can be applied through R6 (full seed) or 45 days before harvest, Resource 60 days before harvest and Basagran 30 days before harvest. These are all selective, contact broadleaf herbicides. Unfortunately, none of these are very good at controlling common lambsquarters.

If you have any additional questions about late season soybean weed control, contact your local Cornell Cooperative Extension office.

Organic Weed Management in Apples

Cornell University’s Greg Peck and Kate Brown discussed a four-year trial of organic weed management strategies during apple tree establishment with Growing Produce author Thomas Skernivitz. Read about their conversation and research in Growing Produce’s June edition.

New Penn State resource for spring weed control in grass hay and pastures

Pennsylvania State University’s Dwight Lingenfelter and emeritus professor Bill Curran have published an article on spring weed control in grass hay and pastures. They break down best management practices for winter annuals like mustard weeds and common chickweed (emerge in the fall and flower/set seed in the spring), summer annuals like pigweeds, common lambsquarters, and common ragweed (emerge in the spring and flower/set seed in the late summer or fall), and biennial weeds like common burdock and bull and musk thistle (take two years to complete their life cycle). Check out their advice for the best timing of your spring weed management practices.

Lesser celandine: Spring garden and lawn invader

We just received a question from Erie County on this frustrating invasive weed. Here in Ithaca this species is in full flower right now (mid-April 2021), and can be seen carpeting the banks of many streams.

Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, once Ranunculus ficaria), also known as fig buttercup, is a common woodland, garden, and lawn weed that you may see on your farm or property. It is one of the earlier plants to flower in our area, and is an aggressive spreader. It has a perfect storm of flexible reproduction and vegetative spreading mechanisms; it self-pollinates, reproduces by spreading roots, produces underground tubers that create new plants, and also has aboveground ‘bulbils’ that also start new plants. It’s difficult to remove once established.

Lesser celandine plant. Photo by Caroline Marschner of Cornell University.

Leaves: Lesser celandine leaves are dark green, glossy, shape variable but largely kidney-shaped, with a reptilian-esque pattern on the underside of the leaf.

Mature Plant: The mature plant is low growing and ephemeral, emerging in the early spring, flowering in April in New York, and senescing by early summer. Roots produce tubers that separate easily from the parent plant to form new infestations. The plant also develops aboveground bulbils, which also produce new plants, and seeds from flowers.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers have three sepals below the flower, which helps identify this versus other buttercup species. Fruits are small and innocuous. Bulbils can be seen on the ground after the plants senesce.

Lesser celandine plant. Photo by Caroline Marschner of Cornell University.

Lesser celandine bulbils. Photo by Lelsie J Mehrhoff of the University of Connecticut, via,

Lesser celandine root structures. Photo by Caroline Marschner of Cornell University.

Lesser celandine seeds. Photo by Leslie J Mehrhoff of the University of Connecticut, via

Management: very small infestations of a few plants can be removed by digging up the plants and carefully removing all plant material including bulbils and tubers. Larger infestations are much more difficult to remove. Most authorities recommend treatment with an herbicide after leaves mature but before flowering begins, in early spring. This method is complicated by the plant’s common location near water; make sure any herbicide used is safe for use near water and allowed in your state.

Similar Species: Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)

The New York native plant marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) is another riparian plant with yellow flowers on the same flowering schedule, but it has larger leaves and flowers with five broad petals. Marsh marigold has fibrous roots with no storage structures, and no bulbils forming on the aboveground plant.

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). Photo by Caroline Marschner of Cornell University.

Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris). Photo by Caroline Marschner of Cornell University.

Further Reading

CCE Oneida county has a good description of the species and management suggestions: .

Ohio State University resource for lesser celandine:

Lesser celandine management from the Little Falls Watershed Alliance outside of DC:


Distinguishing Mustard Varieties

Barnyardgrass seedling. Photo by Steve Dewey of Utah State University, via

Early Plants

Early plants can be typically be identified according to their cotyledon, first true leaves, and/or the stem.

Mature Plants

Non-flowering/Basal rosette

Flowering plants


Uva R H, Neal J C, DiTomaso J M. 1997. Weeds of the Northeast. Book published by Cornell University, Ithaca NY. The go-to for weed ID in the Northeast; look for a new edition sometime in 2019.

See also  Jack 47 seeds

Cornell University’s Turfgrass and Landscape Weed ID app. Identification and control options for weeds common to turf, agriculture, and gardens in New York; uses a very simple decision tree to identify your weed.

Spreading Dogbane

Spreading dogbane in hay field. Photo by Josh Putman of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Spreading dogbane. Photo by Josh Putman of Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Early July, 2020

Josh Putman is Cornell Cooperative Extension’s SWNY Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops representative. He recently ran across this plant in a hay field that had not been worked for a few years. Spreading dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium, is in the same family as milkweeds and swallowworts, and the same genus as hemp dogbane. This perennial plant is found in open, dry areas and in disturbed habitats throughout New York and most of the US and Canada.

Leaves: Leaves are oval, 4-6cm (around two inches long), with smooth edges and pinnate veination. They are arranged opposite each other on the branch.

Mature Plant: 0.6m (2 feet) tall, although some sources say 2-5′, with branching reddish stems. Flowers are found at the ends of branches.

Flowers/Fruit: Flowers are bell-shaped with 5 petals that are fused to form the bell and then curl outwards. Flowers can be white as were seen in western NY, but can also be pink or white with pink striping. Fruit are a long, narrow pod up to 11cm (over 4 inches) long; each flower produces two seed pods. Inside the pods are many small seeds with fluffy tufts, much like milkweed or swallowwort seeds.

Toxicity: Dogbanes are reported to be toxic to livestock, containing a compound that interferes with heart function. This toxicity persists when the plant is dried as well as when fresh. There is no specific information on the toxicity of this species to livestock.

Management: Management information for this species in agricultural settings is sparse; most resources discussed it in the context of a native wildflower/shrub. In blueberry fields, nicosulfuron mixed with surfactant suppressed spreading dogbane (>60%), and dicamba spot sprays were over 80% effective. Glyphosate spot sprays worked better than hand pulling, and wiping with glyphosate was also effective (Wu and Boyd, 2012). In an early experiment from the 1940s, dogbane was partially susceptible to 2,4 D (Egler 1947). In a forest setting, aerial application of glyphosate did not control spreading dogbane (Pitt et al 2000).


University of Maryland Extension Toxic Plant Profile: Milkweed and Dogbane:

Ohio State University Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide: Hemp Dogbane.

Lin Wu and Nathan S. Boyd. 2012. Management of Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) in Wild Blueberry Fields. Weed Technology 26(4)777-782.

Frank E. Egler. 1947. 2,4-D Effects in Connecticut Vegetation, Ecology 29(3)382-386.

Frank E. Egler. 1949. Herbicide Effects in Connecticut Vegetation, Ecology 30( 2) 113-270.

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Toxic Weed Identification

Top 22 Toxic Weeds that Affect the Southeast

Black Cherry


· Dark Smooth Bark.

· Fruits are black, shiny, juicy.

· Leaves are alternate.

Commonplace in fencerows and edges of pastures.

Animals Affected

· Ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) more commonly affected.

· Horses and other single-stomach animals can also be affected.


· Anxious/staggering, collapse, and convulsions before death.

· Animals may show signs within 15-30 minutes after consuming and may die within one hour.

· Mucous membranes and the blood are bright “cherry” red in color.


•Hydrocyanic acid (also called prussic acid), created by enzymatic action on the glucoside amygdalin.

•It is present primarily in the wilted leaves (i.e. fallen trees), but the bark and twigs are also toxic.

Black Locust


* Deeply furrowed, thick bark.

* Paired thorns at the base of each compound leaf.

* Eaves are alternate, pinnately compound.

· Flowers are showy, white, very fragrant and droop.

· Commonplace in fencerows and edges of pastures.

Animals Affected

· Affects horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, and humans.

* Horses are the most susceptible.

* Are goats susceptible? Not as many cases but can still be.


· Depression, loss of appetite, weakness, dilated pupils.

· Posterior paralysis, irregular pulse, difficulty breathing, and bloody diarrhea.


•Poisoning usually occurs by ingesting roots, bark, sprouts, seed pods, or trimmings.



· Coarse perennial fern to 3ft tall.

* Older fronds leathery, triangular.

· Common in old fields, waste places, open woods, roadsides, and particularly on relatively dry sites.

Animals Affected

· Affects all forage-fed livestock.

* Horses are the most susceptible.

* Are goats susceptible? Not as many cases but can still be.


· Monogastrics lack coordination, often standing with legs spread apart as if bracing.

· Arched back and neck.

· Fever is present up to 104 o F.

· Before death, horses may “head press” against objects and have spasms.

· Cattle may exhibit stages of signs.

* Difficult and loud breathing.

* More typical in younger animals.

· The enteric stage

* Bloody feces/urine and excessive bleeding from fly bites.

· The blood is slow to clot since platelets are deficient.

· Sheep and goats may show blindness due to degeneration of the retinal epithelial cells.

* Sheep and goats tens to avoid brackenfern more.


•Contains the enzyme thiaminase.

* Inactivates thiamine (Vitamin B1).

* Causes bone marrow to fail to produce new blood cells.

•All portions of the plant are toxic whether green or dry.

•Poisoning by the plant is cumulative.

* Builds up over time.

* Symptoms may not be immediate.

•Remains toxic if baled in hay.



· Low annual or perennial.

· Stem leaves alternate, simple, lobed or divided.

· Flowers usually with five glossy yellow petals (hence name).

See also  Growing weed from seed time

· Occurs throughout the South.

* Common in old fields, waste places, open woods, roadsides, and particularly in relatively wet areas (near creeks, clayey soils).

Animals Affected

· All livestock are affected.

· Plant is very unpalatable and typically avoided by livestock unless forage/feed is limited.


· Abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, convulsions, and death.

· Milk from affected cows will be bitter and may be reddish in color.


•Contains an irritant oil called protoanemonin, derived from glycoside rarunculin.

•When flowering, more toxin present than the younger plant.

* Present in the stems and leaves.

Castor Bean


· Large woody annual (in the south), or perennial (in the tropics).

* Leaves alternate, up to 16” long, palmately lobed, serrated with gland-tipped teeth.

* Seeds (3/capsule) are shiny, mottled brown, resembling a tick.

· Cultivated ornamental throughout the South, occasionally escaping.

* Planted as mole repellant.

Animals Affected

· Horses and monogastrics (particularly hogs) are the most susceptible to poisoning, but all livestock and humans can be affected.


· Depending upon the amount consumed, signs appear several hours to days after consuming toxin.

· Violent purgation (straining and bloody diarrhea).

· Abdominal pain, weakness, trembling, and lack of coordination.


•The poisonous principle is a phytotoxin called ricin.

* Inhibits protein synthesis.

* Highly toxic (Low LD50).

•All parts of the plant are toxic, especially the seeds.

•Toxicity is seen most often in spring and summer.



· Small to medium-sized tree.

* Leaves alternate, deciduous, bipinnately compound.

* Leaflets deeply toothed at margins.

* Fruit one-seeded, greenish yellow to yellow-tan, ½” in dimeter.

· Found throughout the South, but rare in the northern areas.

* Once an ornamental but widely escaped.

* Found along roadsides and fence rows, in waste places, and around buildings.

Animals Affected

· Swine and sheep are most often affected.

* Toxicity may occur after consumption of more then 0.5% of body weight.

· Goats, poultry, and cattle can be poisoned, but larger amounts are required.


· Stomach irritation, vomiting, bloody diarrhea, paralysis, irregular breathing, and respiratory distress.


•The toxins are tetranortriterpene neurotoxins and unidentified resins.

•The fruit (berries) are the most toxic part of the tree.

•The leaves, bark, and flowers are mildly toxic and usually are no problem.

•Most poisonings occur in the fall or winter when the berries ripen.



· Coarse, branching annual weed, 1-3 feet.

* Leaves alternate, simple, coarsely pubescent, shallowly lobed.

* Fruit broadly cylindrical, spiny bur, ½ – 1” long.

· Found throughout the South.

· Most abundant in fertile soil gardens, fields, roadsides, etc. in full sunlight.

Animals Affected

· Swine are the animals most commonly poisoned.

* They root up and ingest the two-leaf stage of the plant in the springtime.

· Chickens are other livestock have also been poisoned but are less likely to consume more potent plant parts.


· Vomiting and gastrointestinal irritation with occasional diarrhea.

· Large amounts often cause nervous signs, including spasmodic running movements and convulsions.


•Principle toxin is the glycoside carboxyatractyloside.

* It is concentrated in the seeds and seedlings (cotyledon state).

•Mature plants are distasteful to animals and contain less of the toxin.

Dallisgrass Ergot


· Found on dallisgrass seedheads.

* Warm season perennial grass, that grows in loose bunch.

* Seed head had 3-6 spikes arising from different points long stem. The spikes often droop.

· Fungal mass (ergot body) grows in place of a seed.

· Begins as a tan/orange, round mass and becomes black and shrunken.

Animals Affected

· All grazing animals.


· May occur as early as 3 days after introduction to an infected forage.

· “Staggers,” or lack of coordination, trembling, progressing to struggling to walk or causing the animal to get down and be unable to stand.

· Deaths are rare except in cases of injury associated with incoordination.


•Tremorgenic mycotoxin, paspalitrems.

•Interferes with nerve signals and nervous system activity.

•Found only in affected seedheads.

•Mycotoxin is stable when dry and can cause effects if hay is contaminated.

Ground Cherry


· Annual or perennial herbs.

* Branched and spreading at the top.

* Leaves alternate, simple, smooth margined or irregularly toothed.

* Funnel-shaped, yellowish flowers.

* Fruit a globose yellow, red to purple berry surrounded by a papery sac.

Typically found in disturbed areas, thin woodlands, field edges

Animals Affected

· All grazing animals are susceptible.


· Weakness, excess salivation, shortness of breath, trembling, progressive paralysis.

· Acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

· Collapse and death.


•Solanine and other solanidine alkaloids.

•Toxins concentrated in unripe berries and leaves.

* No toxicity in ripe berries.

Hemp Dogbane


· Perennial herb with milky juice.

* Leaves opposite, simple, margins not toothed.

* Flowers small, pink-tinged, bell shaped.

* Fruit of 2 long and slender pods with many silky-haired seeds.

· Frequently found in disturbed areas, roadsides, and field edges.

Animals Affected

· All grazing animals are susceptible.


· Rapid pulse, dilation of pupils, weakness, convulsions, vomiting.

· Blue coloration of mucous membranes.

· Mild myocardial degeneration to cardiac arrest and death.

* Death generally occurs within 6-12 hours of consumption.


•Resins and cardiac glycosides, including cymarin, which was once used as a cardiac stimulant.

•All plant parts contain the toxins, whether fresh or dry.

•Lethal dose may be less than 15 grams.



· Perennial, thorny weed ½ – 1 ½ feet tall.

* Leaves alternate, simple, irregularly pinnately lobed.

* Flowers white to purple, borne in terminal racemes.

* Green fruit turn yellow, resembling a small tomato.

· Found throughout the South and common in pastures, and old fields.

Animals Affected

All grazing animals are susceptible.


· Weakness, excess salivation, shortness of breath, trembling, progressive paralysis.

· Acute hemorrhagic gastroenteritis.

· Collapse and death.


•Solanine and other solanidine alkaloids.

•All plant parts are toxic.

* Toxins concentrated in berries and are more toxic when mature (yellow).



· Coarse, foul-smelling, annual, ½ – 2 feet tall, with purple-tinged stems.

* Leaves alternate, coarsely and irregularly toothed.

* Large, white to lavender, flowers.

* Fruit is spiny capsule with many black, shiny seeds.

· Distributed throughout the South; most abundant in fertile fields, gardens, and barn lots.

Animals Affected

· All livestock are susceptible to the toxins.

* Cattle and swine are most commonly affected.


· Weak rapid pulse and heartbeat, dilated pupils, dry mouth, incoordination, convulsions, coma.


•The toxic principles are the tropane alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine.

•All parts of the plant are considered poisonous, whether green or dry.

* The seeds are particularly poisonous.

See also  Banana hammock seeds



· Coarse perennial grass up to 8 feet tall.

* Leaves may be up to 3 feet long and 2 inches wide.

* Panicle often brown to purplish, that can be as broad as up to 18 inches wide.

· Found throughout the South, especially in old fields, waste places, and fence rows.

Animals Affected

· Ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) more commonly affected.

· Horses and other single-stomach animals can also be affected.


· Anxious/staggering, collapse, and convulsions before death.

· Animals may show signs within 15-30 minutes after consuming and may die within the hour.

· Mucous membranes and the blood are bright red in color.


•Hydrocyanic acid (also called prussic acid), created by enzymatic action on the glycoside dhurrin.

•It is present primarily in stressed and damaged leaves (i.e. wilted by drought, frost, trampling, etc.).



· Erect summer perennial weed.

* Milky sap from stems and roots.

* Leaves are simple and opposite, whorled or alternate.

* Flowers are in dense, showy umbels (various colors).

* Fruit is an elongated follicle splitting on one side, that releases many seeds topped with white, silky hairs.

· Found throughout the South in old fields, and along roadsides and fence rows.

Animals Affected

· All animals are susceptible.


· Staggering, convulsions, bloating, labored breathing, dilated pupils, rapid and weak pulse, coma, death.


•Steroid glycosides and toxic resinous substances.

•Toxins are present in all plant parts, whether green or dry.



· Ornamental shrub, 4-30 feet tall.

* Leaves opposite or whorled, evergreen, and leathery.

* Flowers are showy (various colors) in large terminal clusters.

· Found in Costal Plain from Florida to Louisiana, particularly near coast and escaping along roadsides, edges of woods, and fence rows.

Animals Affected

· All animals are susceptible.


· Severe gastroenteritis, vomiting, diarrhea, increased pulse rate, weakness, death.


•Digitoxin-type glycosides (oleandroside, nerioside, and others).

•Toxins are present in all plant parts, whether green or dry.

•Toxins may also be inhaled in smoke when plants are burned.

•Human poisoning occasionally occurs from using sticks from nearby oleander plants to roast food.

Perilla Mint


· Annual herb, ½ – 2 feet tall.

* Stems are four-sided and freely branched.

* Leaves are opposite, purple or green, ovate, coarsely serrate, with a strong pungent order when crushed.

* Flowers are small, white to purple, in terminal panicles.

· Found throughout the South, mostly in pastures and fields, along roadsides, and old home sites.

Animals Affected

· Most often affects cattle and horses. Can affect other grazing livestock.

* May cause birth defects in calves when hay containing perilla mint is fed to cows early in gestation.


· Occur 2-10 days after exposure.

· Labored breathing, lowered head, reluctance to move, death on exertion.

* Pulmonary emphysema (restrictions) and edema (fluid buildup)


•The principle toxin is a furan (perilla ketone).

•Toxins are present in all plant parts, whether green or dry.

•Toxic cases are seen sporadically, usually in the late summer or fall after grazing the plant.

Poison Hemlock


· Highly branched biennial herb, up to 7 feet tall, with hollow spotted stems.

* Leaves resemble parsley and have a parsnip odor when crushed.

* Flowers are white, in umbles.

· Found throughout the South, typically in damp waste areas.

Animals Affected

· All animals are susceptible.

* Famous for its use in ancient Greece to poison condemned prisoners, including Socrates.

* Children are sometimes poisoned when using the hollow stems as “pea-shooters.”


· Dilated pupils, weakness, staggering gait, slow pulse progressing to rapid.

· Trembling and jerking motions are followed by convulsions.

· Slow, irregular breathing, and death from respiratory failure.

· Chronic ingestion may lead to abnormal fetal development.


•Piperidine alkaloids (coniine and others) in all vegetative parts.

* The stems, leaves, and mature fruits are toxic.

* The leaves are more dangerous in the springtime, and the fruit is the most dangerous in the fall.



· Perennial herb, up to 9 feet tall.

* Stems green to red/purple, fleshy, smooth.

* Leaves alternate, light green, lanceolate.

* Flowers white to purplish in drooping racemes.

* Ripe fruit black, juicy, that stains.

· Distributed throughout the South. Most common on waster ground, fence rows, pastures, and old home sites.

Animal Affected

· Pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, and humans.


· Vomiting, abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, breakdown of red blood cells, drop in milk production.

· Convulsions, death from respiratory failure.

* Post-mortem often reveals ulcerative gastritis, mucosal hemorrhage, dark liver.

· Most animals recover within 24-48 hours after removing threat.


•Principle toxins include oxalic acid, a saponin (phytolaccotoxin), and an alkaloid (phytolaccin).

•Toxins are present in all plant parts, but the roots are the most toxic.

Rhododendrons & Azaleas


· Shrub or densely branched small tree 3-10 feet tall.

* Leaves are alternate, leathery, evergreen (some azaleas are deciduous), lanceolate to elliptic.

* Flowers are showy, white, red, pink, or purple in terminal clusters.

· Naturally found in the Appalachian mountains, but used as ornamentals throughout the South.

Animals Affected

· Ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, etc.) more commonly affected.

· Horses and other single-stomach animals can also be affected, but are less likely to graze these plants.


· Bloating, salivation, vomiting, and abdominal pain as evidenced by straining.

· Eventually the animals grow weak, stagger, and become prostrate.


•Andromedotoxin is the principle toxin. Some may also contain a glucoside od hydroquinone.

•Toxins are present in all plant parts, but particularly the leaves.

•Poisoning can occur at any time of the year.

* More commonly seen in the early spring or in the wintertime.



· Annual legume, 2-7 feet tall.

* Stem is often woody at base.

* Leaves are pinnately compound and alternate.

* Flowers yellow, often streaked with purple, in 206 clusters.

* Pods are linear and contain 30-40 seeds that break free when mature and dry.

· Found mostly in Coastal Plain from Virginia to Florida to Texas, most abundant alongside ditches/stream banks.

Animals Affected

· All animals are believed to be susceptible.


· Variable but include rapid pulse, weak respiration, stiff gait, walk with arched back, diarrhea, death.

* Progression of signs may be a matter of hours.

· Affected animals are often found dead. Post mortem may reveal seeds in the rumen and a hemorrhagic inflammation of the abomasum and intestines.


•The principle toxin is a saponic glycoside.

* Exact toxin and mechanism are unclear.

•It is believed that all plant parts are toxic, but the seeds are most toxic.