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A Guide To The Poisonous Plants And Weed Seeds Of Canada And The Northern United States | by Robert Boyd Thomson, H. B. Sifton



The primary reason for this publication is the long-felt need of a text-book to accompany the course on poisonous plants which is given the students of the Ontario Veterinary College. This object has been kept constantly in mind. It has necessitated the preparation of a book at a price within the reach of every student, and yet one that contains in easily available form an up-to-date knowledge of our common poisonous plants, the characteristics by which they may be recognized, the symptoms produced by them and the remedial treatment required. It is hoped that the book will also prove useful to the veterinarian who is in practice, the farmer, the stockman and, to a more limited extent, the medical practitioner and the public generally.

TitleA Guide To The Poisonous Plants And Weed Seeds Of Canada And The Northern United States
AuthorRobert Boyd Thomson, H. B. Sifton
PublisherUniversity Of Toronto Press
Year1922
Copyright1922, University Of Toronto Press
AmazonA guide to the poisonous plants and weed seeds of Canada and the northern United States

By R. B. Thomson, B.A., F.R.S.C., Associate Professor of Phanerogamic Botany and

H. B. Sifton, M.A., Assistant Professor of Research in Botany

A Guide To The Poisonous Plants And Weed Seeds Of  1
-Preface
The primary reason for this publication is the long-felt need of a text-book to accompany the course on poisonous plants which is given the students of the Ontario Veterinary College. This object has ...
-Section I. Plants Dangerous When Included In Hay And Coarse Feeds
Certain animals are poisoned by hay, straw, ensilage, etc., when they could have pastured with impunity on the fields where the feed was raised. There are several reasons why this is so. In the first ...
-Hay And Fodder. Fungi And Bacteria. Ergot. Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul.
The drug Ergot is believed to have been used by the ancient Jews before the dispersal of their nation. It was certainly used in medicine long before the details of its growth were discovered. While it...
-Chronic Ergotism
*The word ergot is from the old French argot - a cock's spur. The second, or spasmodic type of the disease is described as follows by Pammel: Tonic contractions of the flexor tendons of all the li...
-Prevention. Forage Poisoning
There have been very severe losses from forage poisoning in various parts of this continent, but although much painstaking work has been done to determine the cause of the disease, the results have be...
-Horsetail Family. Equisetaceae. The Horsetails. Equisetum spp.
In ancient times the Horsetail family was one of the most important. The fossil record shows that its members formed a striking part of the coal forest swamps, their jointed stems, two feet or more in...
-Harmful Species. Fern Family. Filicineae. Common Bracken. Pteris aquilina L.
The Bracken Fern grows commonly in pastures and old hayfields, especially in shaded parts, and also in open woods. It has long been suspected of containing a poison, but definite proof was wanting unt...
-Grass Family. Gramineae. Skunk-Tail Grass. Hordeum jubatum L.
Other Common Names: Squirrel-tail Grass, Skunk-grass, Wild Barley, and improperly in the Prairie Provinces, Foxtail. No poisonous compound is contained in this grass, but it causes a great deal of ...
-Related Harmful Species. Lily Family. Liliaceae. Swamp Camas. Zygadenus elegans, Pursh.
Other Common Names: Smooth Camas, Cow-grass,Green Lily. Owing to its coarseness, this species is not eaten by grazing animals to so great an extent as the Death Camas, described later among poisono...
-Pea Family. Leguminosae. Lupines. Lupinus spp.
Other Common Names: Wild Pea, Wild Bean, Blue Pea, Blue Bean, Pea Vine. In the west, where Lupines are very plentiful, their misuse as pasture and hay has been the cause of immense losses. Chesnut ...
-Section II. Plants Dangerous In Pasture Or On The Range
The plants in this division are more numerous than those of the preceding, in spite of the facts to which attention was directed. (See p. 17). Several circumstances are to be considered in this connec...
-Grass Family. Gramineae. The Sorghums. Andropogon spp.
The Sorghums are important forage plants and are wholesome under most conditions. In certain cases, however, they develop hydrocyanic or prussic acid, a most deadly poison. Literature on the subject r...
-The Plants Porcupine Or Spear Grass. Stipa spartea Trin.
Porcupine Grass has seeds which are admirably adapted for burying themselves in the soil. The fruit, where it connects with the plant, has a sharp barbed point, and above this are numerous hairs point...
-Cornstalk Disease
In parts of the United States, and to a lesser degree in Canada, it is customary to gather the ears from the cornfield, leaving the stalks standing. Cornstalk disease in certain of such neighbourhoods...
-Lily Family. Liliaceae. Death Camas. Zygadenus venenosus Rydb.
Other Common Names: Poison Onion, Poison Lily, Poison Sego, Poison Camas, Hog Potato, Mystery Grass, Alkali Grass and improperly Lobelia. Early explorers in Western Canada learned of the poisonous ...
-False Hellebore. Veratrum viride - Ait.
Other Common Names: American White Hellebore, Swamp Hellebore, Indian Poke, Devil's-bite, Meadow Poke. A European species of Veratrum is used as a drug, and the American forms contain the same alka...
-California Swamp Hellebore. Veratrum californicum Durand.
This form is more common in the west, growing in valleys among the mountains, and is stated to have caused the death of cattle and horses. It resembles the former species except that the flowers are w...
-Buttercup Family. Ranunculaceae. Larkspurs. Delphinium spp.
The poisonous effects of European Larkspurs have been known for centuries. One species, D. Staphisagria L., called Stavesacre, was used as a poison for lice. Many species are common in the west of Can...
-Monkshood. Aconitum spp.
Other Common Names: Friar's Cap, Wolfsbane, Iron Hat. Rydberg lists three members of this genus from Western Canada. One of these, Aconitum columbianum Nutt. is found in the lower parts of the m...
-Pasque Flower
Anemone patens L., var. Wolfgangiana (Bess.) Koch. Other Common Names: Prairie Crocus, Prairie Anemone, American Pulsatilla, Prairie Smoke. Willing mentioned this plant as causing the death of s...
-Rose Family. Rosaceae. Wild Cherries. Prunus spp.
The Wild Black or Rum Cherry, Prunus serotina Ehrh., is a common tree extending from the east to the prairies. The danger from it lies in the presence of prussic acid in the wilted leaves. Animals may...
-Pea Family. Leguminosae. Stemless Loco Weed. Aragallus
Oxytropis spp. DC, also known as Aragallus. Other Common Names: Loco Weed, Crazy Weed, Loco Vetch, White Loco. For many years stockmen of the west have been suffering great losses from the disea...
-Loco Weed Or Milk Vetch. Astragalus spp.
The resemblance between these plants and the stem-less Loco Weeds is marked. They may, however, usually be distinguished by the presence of leafy stems, but always, as stated above, by the absence of ...
-Heath Family. Ericaceae. Laurels. Kalmia spp.
Several poisonous species of Kalmia are found in Canada and the United States, growing in dry places and in bogs. Their leathery leaves, and, in fact, all parts of the plants, contain andromedodextrin...
-Carrot Family. Umbelliferae. Water Hemlock. Cicuta spp.
Other Common Names: Wild Parsnip, Spotted Hemlock, Beaver Poison, Musquash Root, Cowbane, Spotted Cowbane. Several species of the Water Hemlock grow commonly in Canada. Parts of these are deadly in...
-Poison Hemlock. Conium maculatum L.
Other Common Name: Spotted Parsley. The poisonous effects of Conium maculatum, a plant introduced from Europe, were known long before the beginning of botany as a science. The juice, made famous on ac...
-The Water Parsnip. Shun cicutaefolium Schrank.
Miss Fyles reports cases from different parts of Canada where animals have died from the effects of Water Parsnip. Symptoms and treatment have not been worked out. The poison apparently acts on the ki...
-Sunflower Family. Compositae. Ragwort. Senecio Jacobaea L.
Other Common Names: British Ragwort, Tansy-ragwort, Staggerwort, Stinking Willie. Stockmen in eastern Canada formerly lost considerable numbers of cattle through a mysterious ailment called Pictou...
-Sneezeweec. Helenium autumnale L.
Other Common Names: False Sunflower, Swamp Sunflower, Yellow Ox-eye, Staggerweed. This native plant is found in moist places throughout the country, and contains poison in all its parts, but more p...
-White Snakeroot. Eupatorium Urticaefolium Reichard
Other Common Names: White Sanicle, Indian Sanicle, Squawweed, Richweed, White Top, Deerwort-boneset. There are few American plants whose poisonous properties have caused so much controversy as thos...
-Section III. Plants Dangerous In Ground Feeds
Many plants have poisonous seeds. Indeed in many species there is a tendency for the poison to be collected from other parts of the plant and concentrated in the seed. These poisonous seeds are of gre...
-Grass Family. Gramineae. Darnel. Lolium temulentum L.
Other Common Names: Poison, White or Bearded Darnel, Tares. The history of Darnel is interesting. The plant has been known and its ill effects noticed for hundreds of years. It is believed to be id...
-Pink Family. Caryophyllaceae. Purple Cockle. Agrostemma Githago L.
Other Common Names: Corn Cockle, Corn Rose, Corn Campion. The seeds of this common plant are responsible for a great deal of trouble. Their reputation is so bad that certain of the United States ha...
-Antidotes. Cow Cockle. Saponaria Vaccaria L.
Other Common Names: Cow Herb, China Cockle, Spring Cockle. This plant is a close relative of Purple Cockle and was suspected of producing similar effects. Its growing prevalence in western grain fi...
-Mustard Family. Cruciferae. Wild Mustard
Brassica arvensis (L.) Ktze., Brassica Sinapistrum Boiss. Other Common Names: Charlock, Herrick. The poisonous properties of this plant have been given less attention in America than they deserv...
-Tumbling Mustard. Sisymbrium altissimum L.
Tumbling Mustard was introduced from Europe about 1887, and is an abundant weed in the grain fields of the west owing to its copious seed production and its efficient manner of spreading the seeds. Wh...
-Field Pennycress. Thlaspi arvense L.
Other Common Names: French weed, Stinkweed. The seeds of this plant are pungently bitter, and sickening to taste, owing to a peculiar oil. For this reason they are seldom eaten by pigs, on which such ...
-Wormseed Mustard. Erysimum cheiranthoides L.
This plant, like Wild Mustard, is harmful only when its seeds are included in ground feeds. The seeds, which contain a pungent oil, are intensely bitter, and unless an animal is very hungry, it will r...
-Wild Radish. Raphanus Raphanistrum L.
The effects of Wild Radish are very similar to those of Wild Mustard. Its acridity, according to Long, produces pronounced intestinal disorders. The plant, like many others, is an introduced one. I...
-Flax Family. Linaceae. Flax. Linum usitatissimum L.
This plant has been in cultivation from very ancient times. Its stems produce the fibre of linen, and its seeds are used for oil and feed. In western Canada where the plant is raised extensively for i...
-Section IV. Poisonous Plants Which Are Rarely Observed To Cause Death In Animals
Although this section consists of plants that have rarely been observed to cause the death of animals, and so may be thought of secondary importance to the veterinarian, farmer and stockman, yet anima...
-Fungi. Amanita spp.
The genus Amanita contains the most commonly known, as well as some of the most deadly of our poisonous mushrooms or toadstools as they are colloquially called. The top of the cap may have various c...
-Death Cup. Amanita phalloides (L.) Fr.
Other Common Names: Poison Amanita, Bulbous Amanita. The name Death Cup, with its sinister suggestion, has been well earned by this fungus, for it is responsible for even more deaths than its nea...
-Arum Family. Araceae. Skunk Cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus (L.) Nutt. Other Common Names: Polecat-weed, Swamp Cabbage. The plant derives its common name from its strong odour. It is acrid and poisonous, causing vomiting and tempor...
-Jack-In-The-Pulpit
Arisaema triphyllum (L.) Schott. Other Common Names: Indian or Wild Turnip, Three-leaved Arum. The plant is acrid, especially its corm, which is very poisonous, having been used, according to Pa...
-Lily Family. Liliaceae.
Lily of the Valley, Convallaria majalis L., is sometimes responsible for poisoning due to the presence of a very poisonous crystalline compound. It has an emetic and purgative action and a depressing ...
-Iris Family. Iridaceae. The Blue Flag. Iris versicolor L.
Other Common Names: Wild Iris, Poison Flag, Water Flag, Fleur-de-lis. The Blue Flag may cause trouble if its rootstock is eaten, as sometimes happens, in mistake for that of the Sweet Flag, Acorus ...
-Orchid Family. Orchidaceae. The Lady-Slipper. Cypripedium spp.
Other Common Names: Moccasin Flower, Cypripe-dium. The Lady-slippers, since they are among the most beautiful and conspicuous of our native Orchids, are much sought after for decorative purposes. ...
-Nettle Family. Urticaceae.
The Stinging Nettle, Urtica dioica L., is one of a well known group whose stinging hairs secrete a poison that causes burning and itching inflammation of the skin. It is found from the Atlantic to the...
-Pokeweed Family. Phytolaccaceae. Pokeweed. Phytolacca decandra L.
Other Common Names: Scoke, Poison Poke, Pigeon-berry, Garget. The roots and fruit of this weed are used in medicine for skin diseases and rheumatism. In some parts of the country its young shoots a...
-Buttercup Family. Ranunculaceae.
The White Baneberry, Actaea alba (L.) Mill., is known by various common names, Doll's Eyes, Coral and Pearls, White Beads, Necklace-weed. This plant causes trouble chiefly to children who are attracte...
-The Cursed Crowfoot. Ranunculus sceleratus L.
Other Common Names: Biting Crowfoot, Celery-leaved Crowfoot, Blisterwort. This plant is the most poisonous member of the genus Ranunculus. Its juice has an extremely acrid, volatile constituent, st...
-Marsh Marigold. Caltha palustris L.
Other Common Names: Cowslip, Soldiers-buttons. As a general rule animals may be trusted to avoid the Marsh Marigold on account of its acrid properties. Cases have occurred, however, of poisoning am...
-Barberry Family. Berberidaceae. The May Apple. Podophyllum peltatum L.
Other Common Names: Mandrake, Umbrella-plant, Devil's Apple, Vegetable Calomel, Wild or Ground Lemon. This plant contains podophyllin, a bitter resinous substance used in medicine as a purgative, o...
-Poppy Family. Papaveraceae.
The Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis L., is another native drug plant, containing sanguinarin which in small doses is a tonic, but in larger quantities exerts a severe irritant effect, with nausea an...
-Pea Family. Leguminosae.
The Prairie Thermopsis, Thermopsis rhombifolia Richards, is often eaten by sheep and has in some cases been thought to have poisoned them. The seeds are supposed to be the poisonous part, and several ...
-Spurge Family. Enphorbiaceae.
The Castor Oil Plant, Ricinus communis L., contains in its seeds the poison ricin, which remains in the cake after the castor oil has been pressed out. These seeds are stated to have caused death in m...
-Sumac Family. Anacardiaceae. Poison Ivy. Rhus Toxicodendron L.
Other Common Names: Poison-oak, Poison-vine, Three-leaved Ivy. This plant is a native of eastern North America and extends west to Alberta. It is notorious for its extremely irritating effect on th...
-Heath Family. Ericaceae.
The Fetter-bush, Andromeda polifolia L., contains andromedodextrin, a narcotic poison, in its leaves. Pam-mel states that it has been known to poison sheep. It is a shrub six inches to two feet high, ...
-Leatherwood Family. Thymelaceae.
The Spurge Laurel, Daphne Mezereum L., is known by a variety of other common names, viz., Mezereon, Lady-laurel, Paradise Plant, Mystery Plant and Dwarf Bay, and contains several poisonous substances....
-Potato Family. Solanaceae.
Bittersweet, Solanum Dulcamara L., other common names of which are, Woody Nightshade, Bittersweet-nightshade, and Scarlet Berry, is a poisonous plant containing solanin and dulcamarin, the latter of w...
-The Thorn Apple. Datura Stramonium L.
Other Common Names: Jimson Weed, Jamestown Weed, Stramonium, Devil's Apple, Mad Apple, Stinkwort. This plant is very poisonous in all its parts. There are a few cases of animal poisoning from its y...
-Flgwort Family. Scrophulariaceae.
The Purple Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea L., contains a number of poisonous alkaloids, and is used in medicine, chiefly as a heart stimulant. An overdose, or a succession of full medicinal ones, will c...
-Lobelia Family. Lobeliaceae.
The Indian Tobacco, Lobelia inflata L., known also as Wild Tobacco, Asthma-weed, Gad-root and Lobelia, is used in medicine for asthma and similar diseases. Its effects are similar to those caused by s...
-Sunflower Family. Compositae.
Tansy, Tanacetum vulgare L., contains a violent, irritant, narcotic poison, producing spasms and convulsions, but is very rarely eaten by animals. It was introduced into this country from Europe, and ...
-Symptoms Key to the Principal Poisonous Plants
A botanical key, based on the flower structure and morphological features of plants, has proved invaluable to botanists. The value of such a key depends on the ease and definiteness with which the nam...
-Poisonous Plants And Weed Seeds Glossary
Abortion Premature birth. Acaulescent Stemless. Acridity Sharp, bitter taste. Acuminate Taper-pointed. Aleurone The protein layer of a seed. Alternate One after anothe...









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