European elder (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

European elder (Sambucus nigra) is an outdoor ornamental introduced from Europe. Several cultivars may be available in Canada. This shrub contains cyanogenic glycosides. Swine have been poisoned in Europe, and circumstantial reports of poisoning of cattle and turkeys have been noted. Berries eaten raw can cause nausea and vomiting in humans (Cooper and Johnson 1984). Children should not be allowed to ingest the berries.

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Sambucus nigra L.
Vernacular name(s):
European elder
Scientific family name:
Caprifoliaceae
Vernacular family name:
honeysuckle

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Sambucus nigra

References:

  • Agriculture Quebec. 1975. Noms des maladies des plantes du Canada/ Names of plant diseases in Canada. , Quebec City, Que., Canada. 288 pp.
  • Alex, J. F., Cayouette, R., Mulligan, G. A. 1980. Common and botanical names of weeds in Canada/ Noms populaire et scientifiques des plantes nuisibles du Canada. Revised. Agric. Can. Publ., Ottawa, Ont., Canada. 132 pp.
  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Scoggan, H. J. 1978, 1979. The flora of Canada. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. (Ottawa) Publ. Bot. 7(1)-7(4). 1711 pp.
  • Van Wijk, H. L. 1911. A dictionary of plant names. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, The Netherlands. 1444 pp.
  • Victorin, M. 1964. Flore Laurentienne. 2nd ed. Univ. Montreal, Montreal, Que., Canada. 952 pp.

Geographic Information

Plant or plant parts used in or around the home.

References:

  • Bailey, L. H., Bailey, E. Z. 1976. Hortus third. Revised. MacMillan, New York, N.Y., USA. 1290 pp.
  • Boivin, B. 1966, 1967. Énumération des plantes du Canada. Provencheria 6. Nat. Can. (Que.) 93: 253-274; 371-437; 583-646; 989-1063. 94: 131-157; 471-528; 625-655.

Image or illustration

Images: European elder - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

The bark, leaves, and berries can cause poisoning in animals. The roots and stems have caused poisoning in humans. Ingesting quantities of uncooked berries can cause nausea (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic parts:

  • Bark
  • Leaves
  • Mature fruit
  • Roots
  • Stems

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.
  • Tewe, O. O., Iyayi, E. A. 1989. Cyanogenic glycosides. Pages 43-60 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. II. Glycosides. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 277 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Two cyanogenic glycosides, sambunigrin and vicianin, occur in black elderberry. Hydrocyanic acid can be released in animals by the action of plant enzymes after ingestion (Tewe and Iyayi 1989).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • Sambunigrin
  • Vicianin

References:

  • Tewe, O. O., Iyayi, E. A. 1989. Cyanogenic glycosides. Pages 43-60 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. II. Glycosides. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 277 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Humans have developed nausea and vomiting after ingesting uncooked berries. Cooking destroys the toxin. Children were poisoned when they used the hollow stems of elders as pipes (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

Swine

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

In one European case, pigs ate young leaves and within a day showed symptoms, including salivation, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, paralysis, trembling, and unsteadiness. Several pigs died (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

References:

  • Cooper, M. R., Johnson, A. W. 1984. Poisonous plants in Britain and their effects on animals and man. Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, England. 305 pp.

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