Garden-sorrel (Common name)

General Poisoning Notes:

Garden-sorrel (Rumex acetosa) is a naturalized herb found across southern Canada. It is occasionally cultivated as a garden green. Ingesting large quantities of the plant caused toxicity in sheep and cattle in other countries. Humans should restrict their intake of the leaves of this plant because they contain oxalate crystals (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.
  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Rumex acetosa L.
Vernacular name(s):
garden-sorrel
Scientific family name:
Polygonaceae
Vernacular family name:
knotweed

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Rumex acetosa

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

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Labrador
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan

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: Garden-sorrel - Google search

Notes on Poisonous Plant Parts:

Ingesting large amounts of the aboveground portion of garden-sorrel can cause poisoning (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic parts:

  • leaves
  • 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.

Notes on Toxic Plant Chemicals:

Oxalates are considered the primary toxin. However, under certain circumstances, nitrates may accumulate to toxic levels. In recorded cases of poisoning, the symptoms were consistent with those of oxalate poisoning (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic Plant Chemicals:

  • oxalate

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.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

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

Cattle

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning

Reports of poisoning in cattle are inconsistent. Lactating cows that ingested large quantities of garden-sorrel showed symptoms similar to those of milk fever. Treatment with calcium had transient effects because of subsequent kidney failure (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.

Sheep

General Symptoms of Poisoning:

Notes on Poisoning

Ingesting large amounts of garden-sorrel caused toxicity in sheep in Britain. Symptoms included incoordination, falling, then inability to rise, dilation of the pupils, coma, and death (in five sheep). In lactating ewes, the initial signs resembled milk fever, but favorable response to calcium injection was transient because of kidney failure. No cases of poisoning from this plant have been reported in North America (Kingsbury 1964, 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.
  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

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