Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Devil's-backbone (Kalanchoe daigremontiana) is an indoor ornamental plant. This plant contains a cardiac glycoside that has caused experimental toxicity and death in chicks and mice. It has caused illness in pets, such as rabbits and mice. Dogs and cats are also at risk from ingesting plant material. The plants should be kept away from children, as well. Devil's-backbone produces plantlets along the leaf margins, which fall off and become new plants. These plantlets can be found in profusion around the pot in which an adult devil's-backbone is growing. Children and family pets have easy access to these plantlets. Several other species of Kalanchoe may be found growing as houseplants in Canada. Tests have shown that some of them may also contain toxic bufadienalide compounds. These compounds were only recently discovered (Williams and Smith 1985, Joubert 1989), and so caution should be exercized with all species. Some members of the genus Kalanchoe have caused poisoning of sheep and cattle in South Africa and Australia, where they are native or naturalized (Cheeke and Schull 1985, Williams and Smith 1985).

References:

  • Cheeke, P. R., Shull, L. R. 1985. Natural toxicants in feeds and poisonous plants. AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, Conn., USA. 492 pp.
  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.
  • Joubert, J. P. 1989. Cardiac glycosides. Pages 61-97 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. II. Glycosides. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 277 pp.
  • Wagner, H., Fischer, M., Lotter, H. 1985. Isolation and structure determination of daigremontianin, a novel bufadienolide from Kalanchoe daigremoniana. Planta Med., 33: 169-171.
  • Williams, M. C., Smith, M. C. 1984. Toxicity of Kalanchoe spp. to chicks. Am. J. Vet. Res., 45: 543-546.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Kalanchoe daigremontiana Hamet & Perr.
Vernacular name(s):
Devil's-backbone
Scientific family name:
Crassulaceae
Vernacular family name:
orpine

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Kalanchoe daigremontiana

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: Kalanchoe daigremontiana: - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

Williams and Smith (1984) found that the leaves contained more toxin than the stems.

Toxic parts:

  • leaves
  • stems

References:

  • Joubert, J. P. 1989. Cardiac glycosides. Pages 61-97 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. II. Glycosides. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 277 pp.
  • Wagner, H., Fischer, M., Lotter, H. 1985. Isolation and structure determination of daigremontianin, a novel bufadienolide from Kalanchoe daigremoniana. Planta Med., 33: 169-171.
  • Williams, M. C., Smith, M. C. 1984. Toxicity of Kalanchoe spp. to chicks. Am. J. Vet. Res., 45: 543-546.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Daigremontianin is a bufadienolide. Bufadienolides are cardiac glycosides that are similar to cardenolides, differing only in the structure of the C-17 substituent on the D ring. This chemical has been found to be toxic in experiments on mice (Wagner et al. 1985).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • daigremontianin

References:

  • Wagner, H., Fischer, M., Lotter, H. 1985. Isolation and structure determination of daigremontianin, a novel bufadienolide from Kalanchoe daigremoniana. Planta Med., 33: 169-171.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

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

Cats

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.

Chickens

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Experimental feeding of leaf extracts to chicks caused depression, closed eyes, ruffled and drooping feathers, twitching of the neck and head, and often spiralling of the head over the back. In severe cases, convulsions, paralysis, neck and limb tremors, and death occurred. A dosage of 8 mg/g of body weight caused mild symptoms; dosages between 12-20 mg/g of body weight caused some deaths. Stem extracts produced less severe symptoms and no deaths, even when fed at the equivalent of 20 mg/g of body weight (Williams and Smith 1984).

References:

  • Fuller, T. C., McClintock, E. 1986. Poisonous plants of California. Univ. California Press, Berkeley, Calif., USA. 432 pp.
  • Williams, M. C., Smith, M. C. 1984. Toxicity of Kalanchoe spp. to chicks. Am. J. Vet. Res., 45: 543-546.

Rabbits

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

A pet rabbit ate three-quarters of a leaf and became depressed and torpid; it subsequently experienced rapid breathing and teeth grinding. It fell down when attempting to walk. Paralysis followed. An injection of atropine was administered, and the rabbit recovered fully within 9 h (Williams and Smith 1984).

References:

  • Williams, M. C., Smith, M. C. 1984. Toxicity of Kalanchoe spp. to chicks. Am. J. Vet. Res., 45: 543-546.

Rodents

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

In motility tests, mice experimentally fed the chemical daigremontianin at dosages of 0.1-0.5 mg/kg experienced a strong sedative effect. Higher concentrations resulted in paralysis and spasmodic muscular contractions (Wagner et al. 1985).

References:

  • Wagner, H., Fischer, M., Lotter, H. 1985. Isolation and structure determination of daigremontianin, a novel bufadienolide from Kalanchoe daigremoniana. Planta Med., 33: 169-171.

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