Poisonous Plants

Apocynum Minimize

GENUS: Apocynum

Apocynum androsaemifolium L —Dogbane

Apocynum cannabinum L —Indian hemp


FAMILY: Apocynaceae—the Dogbane Family

This family has opposite or alternate simple leaves; flowers: regular and perfect; calyx: deeply divided; petals: joined; fruit: 2 slender, many-seeded follicles; sepals: 5-lobed; stamens: as many as corolla lobes and alternate with them; pistil: 1.

PHENOLOGY: Flowering in June through September.

DISTRIBUTION: Found in open areas and in coarse soil and/or along streams.

PLANT CHARACTERISTICS: Flowers: erect; calyx: lobes usually taller than the middle of the corolla tube; corolla: petals are white to greenish white in A. cannabinum and pink in A. androsaemifolium; fruit: 10-15 cm long with 2-3 cm coma.

POISONOUS PARTS: Vegetative parts and the follicles.

SYMPTOMS: Little is known with respect to humans and livestock. One of the toxic glycosides, apocynamorin, when injected into a cat markedly raised the blood pressure. In another case, oral administration of some resinoid fractions to a dog produced gastric disturbance and death.

POISONOUS PRINCIPLE: Several cardioactive resins and glycosides.

CONFUSED TAXA: The two species of Apocynum can be readily distinguished. Apocynum androsaemifolium has pink corollas, 6-10 mm; A. cannabinum has white to greenish-white corollas, 3-6 mm.

SPECIES OF ANIMALS AFFECTED: Because the plant is distasteful to animals, incidences of poisoning are rare.

TREATMENT: (11a)(b); (26).

OF INTEREST: Nerium oleander(oleander), a poisonous evergreen shrub in this family is grown in more tropical climes and can be found in greenhouses in Pennsylvania. It contains the cardiac glycosides oleandroside, oleandrin, and nerioside. Symptoms include local irritation to the mouth and alimentary canal, vomiting, cramps, bloody diarrhea, dizziness, slowed pulse, irregular heartbeat, drowsiness, unconsciousness, respiratory collapse, and death.

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