Images on this page contributed by: Ann F. Rhodes, PhD, Director of the Pennsylvania Flora Project
- Fly poison has basal grass-like leaves and white flowers with dense racemes.
- Geographic range
- Found in moist soils and open woodlands in the eastern United States, fly poison emerges in the spring before most other forages.
- Toxic principle
- Several toxins have been identified in fly poison. These include cevanine-type veratrum ester alkaloids, amianthine, and jervine, which is a teratogen.
- Leaves and bulbs are neurotoxic. In sheep and cattle, the toxic dose is 0.1-0.2% body weight and the lethal dose is 0.3% body weight of green plant.
- Clinical signs
- After a few hours, excessive salivation and vomiting are seen. Later signs include colic, weakness, incoordination, and labored respiration. Clinical signs generally disappear within 1-2 days. In cases of ingestion of large amounts of the plant, animals may die due to respiratory failure within the first day.
- Small scattered hemorrhages may be seen.
- There is no effective treatment.
Read more in the Poisonous Plants of Pennsylvania Publication