Sunflower (Common name)

General poisoning notes:

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus) causes allergic contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals after contact with the sesquiterpene lactones contained in fragile, multicellular, capitate glandular hairs (Hausen and Spring 1989). Cattle have been poisoned in Europe after ingesting plants that did not have mature seeds. This is a result of nitrate toxicity, which has caused sickness and death (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.
  • Hausen, B. M., Spring, O. 1989. Sunflower allergy. On the constituents of the trichomes of Helianthus annuus L. (Compositae). Contact Dermatitis, 20: 326-334.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Helianthus annuus L.
Vernacular name(s):
sunflower
Scientific family name:
Compositae
Vernacular family name:
composite

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Helianthus annuus

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

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: sunflower - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • hairs

References:

  • Hausen, B. M., Spring, O. 1989. Sunflower allergy. On the constituents of the trichomes of Helianthus annuus L. (Compositae). Contact Dermatitis, 20: 326-334.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Sunflower contains several sesquiterpene lactones, including the most active chemical, 1-O-methyl-4,5-dihydroniveusin A, in the hemiketal form. The complete mixture of sesquiterpene lactones contributes to the allergic response in humans. These chemicals are found in the capitate glands on sunflower leaves (Hausen and Spring 1989). Sunflowers can also accumulate toxic amounts of nitrates, which have poisoned cattle in Europe (Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • -dihydroniveusin A
  • nitrate

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.
  • Hausen, B. M., Spring, O. 1989. Sunflower allergy. On the constituents of the trichomes of Helianthus annuus L. (Compositae). Contact Dermatitis, 20: 326-334.

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:

Cattle that ingest sunflower plants that have not formed mature seeds develop nitrate poisoning. Symptoms include circulatory failure, swaying of hind quarters, excitation, and collapse 1-3 h after ingestion. Postmortem findings include lung edema, small hemorrhages and congestion of intestinal blood vessels, and dark- colored blood (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.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Hausen, B. M., Spring, O. 1989. Sunflower allergy. On the constituents of the trichomes of Helianthus annuus L. (Compositae). Contact Dermatitis, 20: 326-334.

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