Horse-chestnut (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is and introduced tree that is found in the southern parts of Ontario and Quebec. It has poisoned cattle, horses, and pigs, causing sickness and death (Reynard and Norton 1942, Muenscher 1975). Human poisoning has also occurred.

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.
  • Hardin, J. W., Arena, J. M. 1969. Human poisoning from native and cultivated plants. Duke University Press, Durham, N.C., USA. 167 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Aesculus hippocastanum L.
Vernacular name(s):
horse-chestnut
Scientific family name:
Hippocastanaceae
Vernacular family name:
horse-chestnut

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Aesculus hippocastanum

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: horse-chestnut - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

Horse-chestnut fruits, leaves, and flowers contain the chemical aesculin. Young leaves and flowers are especially toxic to cattle (Reynard and Norton 1942). Children occasionally ingest the fruit but few authenticated cases of poisoning are found in the literature, although death has been reported (Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic parts:

  • flowers
  • leaves
  • mature fruit

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.
  • Hardin, J. W., Arena, J. M. 1969. Human poisoning from native and cultivated plants. Duke University Press, Durham, N.C., USA. 167 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Aesculin is a saponin (7-hydroxycoumarin 6-glucoside) that yields aesculetin (6,7-dihydroxycoumarin) upon hydrolysis. Aesculin is related to hydrocoumarin found in spoiled sweet-clover hay (Cooper and Johnson 1984). LD-50 measurements from nut extracts were as follows (Williams and Olsen 1984):

  • 10.6 mg/g of body weight for chicks
  • 10.7 mg/g of body weight for hamsters.

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • aesculin

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.
  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.
  • Williams, M. C., Olsen, J. D. 1984. Toxicity of seeds of three Aesculus spp to chicks and hamsters. Am. J. Vet. Res., 45: 539-542.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

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

Cattle

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

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.
  • Hardin, J. W., Arena, J. M. 1969. Human poisoning from native and cultivated plants. Duke University Press, Durham, N.C., USA. 167 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

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