Kochia scoparia (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Kochia (Kochia scoparia) is both naturalized and cultivated as an outdoor ornamental in various parts of Canada. Ingestion has caused poisoning in cattle, horses, and sheep. Hepatogenous photosensitivity and liver damage often occur together, along with the outward signs of photosensitization. In addition, polioencephalomalacia, toxic hepatitis, and nephrosis can occur. Kochia has been examined as a forage crop because it is very drought-tolerant. Toxicity varies from one year to the next. Increased rainfall has raised the oxalate content of the plants. Oxalates are at least partly responsible for the complicated toxic affects of kochia ingestion (Galitzer and Oehme 1978, Dickie and Berryman 1979, Thilsted et al. 1989).

References:

  • Dickie, C. W., Berryman, J. R. 1979. Polioencephalomalacia and photosensitization associated with Kochia scoparia consumption in range cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 175: 463-465.
  • Dickie, C. W., James, L. F. 1983. Kochia scoparia poisoning in cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 183: 765-768.
  • Galitzer, S. J., Oehme, F. W. 1978. Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad toxicity in cattle: a literature review. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 20: 421-423.
  • Johnson, A. E. 1983. Photosensitizing toxins from plants and their biologic effects. Pages 345-359 in Keeler, R. F., Tu, A. T., eds. Handbook of natural toxins. Vol. 1. Plant and Fungal toxins. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., USA. 934 pp.
  • Thilsted, J., Hibbs, C., Kiesling, H., Hallford, D., Kirksey, R., Meininger, A., Tompkins, J. 1989. Kochia (Kochia scoparia) toxicosis in cattle: results of four experimental grazing trials. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 34-41.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad.
Vernacular name(s):
kochia
Scientific family name:
Chenopodiaceae
Vernacular family name:
goosefoot

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Kochia scoparia

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
  • Manitoba
  • 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: Kochia scoparia - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • flowers
  • leaves
  • seeds

References:

  • Dickie, C. W., Berryman, J. R. 1979. Polioencephalomalacia and photosensitization associated with Kochia scoparia consumption in range cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 175: 463-465.
  • Dickie, C. W., James, L. F. 1983. Kochia scoparia poisoning in cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 183: 765-768.
  • Thilsted, J., Hibbs, C., Kiesling, H., Hallford, D., Kirksey, R., Meininger, A., Tompkins, J. 1989. Kochia (Kochia scoparia) toxicosis in cattle: results of four experimental grazing trials. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 34-41.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Kochia has been found to contain total oxalates of up to 11.4% and maximum soluble oxalates of 4.7%. This level of soluble oxalates is sufficient to cause some of the signs of toxicity seen in poisoning. In addition, saponins and alkaloids have been described that may contribute to the complex symptoms of kochia ingestion (Dickie et al. 1989, Thilsted et al. 1989).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • oxalate

References:

  • Dickie, C. W., Gerlach, M. L., Hamar, D. W. 1989. Kochia scoparia oxalate content. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 240-242.
  • Thilsted, J., Hibbs, C., Kiesling, H., Hallford, D., Kirksey, R., Meininger, A., Tompkins, J. 1989. Kochia (Kochia scoparia) toxicosis in cattle: results of four experimental grazing trials. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 34-41.

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:

In addition to photosensitization, symptoms can include ataxia, incoordination, muscular spasms, recumbency, and death. Because kochia causes hepatogenous photosensitization, disseminated jaundice is often seen along with enlarged fatty liver (Galitzer and Oehme 1978, Johnson 1983).

References:

  • Dickie, C. W., Berryman, J. R. 1979. Polioencephalomalacia and photosensitization associated with Kochia scoparia consumption in range cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 175: 463-465.
  • Dickie, C. W., Gerlach, M. L., Hamar, D. W. 1989. Kochia scoparia oxalate content. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 240-242.
  • Galitzer, S. J., Oehme, F. W. 1978. Kochia scoparia (L.) Schrad toxicity in cattle: a literature review. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 20: 421-423.
  • Thilsted, J., Hibbs, C., Kiesling, H., Hallford, D., Kirksey, R., Meininger, A., Tompkins, J. 1989. Kochia (Kochia scoparia) toxicosis in cattle: results of four experimental grazing trials. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 31: 34-41.

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