Caulophyllum thalictroides (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) is a native plant found in rich woods in eastern Canada. The plant contains chemicals that can cause cell damage. Experiments show that handling powdered root can cause irritation of mucous membranes, with possible dermatitis. No case histories of poisoning were found in the literature, but the plant has poisoning potential. Children should not be allowed to eat the attractive blue fruits of this plant (Muenscher 1975, Lampe and McCann 1985). No references were found of poisoning of livestock.

References:

  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michaux
Vernacular name(s):
blue cohosh
Scientific family name:
Berberidaceae
Vernacular family name:
barberry

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Caulophyllum thalictroides

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

  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Ontario
  • Quebec

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

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Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

The berries and roots contain chemicals that are cytotoxic, causing cell damage. The plant is extremely bitter and is not usually ingested by livestock. (Muenscher 1975, Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic parts:

  • mature fruit
  • roots

References:

  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
  • Muenscher, W. C. 1975. Poisonous plants of the United States. Revised. Collier Books, New York, N.Y., USA. 277 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

An alkaloid and saponins occur in this plant. The chemicals are cytotoxic, damaging animal cells. The plant is reported to have orally active oxytocic substances, which cause uterine contractions (Fergusen and Edwards 1954, Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • N-methylcytisine

References:

  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

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

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • 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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