Chelidonium majus (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Greater celandine (Chelidonium majus) is a perennial naturalized herb found in parts of eastern Canada. This plant is suspected in the death of a four-year old boy (Koopman 1937). There are records of skin irritation and soreness after the latex is applied to the skin, a practice that was followed in Europe to help minor skin injuries (Cooper and Johnson 1984). Cattle were poisoned and died in Britain after ingesting the ripe fruit of this plant (Reeks 1903); 500 g of the plant can cause toxic effects in horses or cattle (Frohne and Pfander 1983).

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.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.
  • Koopman, H. 1937. A fatal case of celandine poisoning. Sammlung von Vergiftungsfallen, 8: 93-98.
  • Reeks, H. C. 1903. Poisoning of cattle by common celandine. J. Comp. Pathol. Ther., 16: 367-371.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Chelidonium majus L.
Vernacular name(s):
greater celandine
Scientific family name:
Papaveraceae
Vernacular family name:
poppy

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Chelidonium majus

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

  • New Brunswick
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • 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 entire plant is considered poisonous. The plant contains bright yellow latex that turns reddish after exposure to air. The plant is considered unpalatable because of its acrid taste and pungent, fetid smell (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic parts:

  • latex

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.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Chelidonine is the major alkaloid found in greater celandine. At least 20 other alkaloids have been found in the plant. The concentration of these alkaloids varies in various plant organs, depending on the stage of growth (Frohne and Pfander 1983).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • chelidonine

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.
  • Frohne, D., Pfander, H. J. 1983. A colour atlas of poisonous plants. Wolfe Publishing Ltd., London, England. 291 pp.

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:

One case of cattle poisoning is attributed to this plant. The cattle became drowsy, had a staggering gait, salivated, and some cows died. Calves that suckled the poisoned cows were unaffected. Postmortem examination revealed gastrointestinal irritation (Reeks 1903).

References:

  • Reeks, H. C. 1903. Poisoning of cattle by common celandine. J. Comp. Pathol. Ther., 16: 367-371.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

The case of a 4-year-old boy who sickened and died is cited in the literature. Postmortem examination showed severe irritation of the large intestine. The cause of death was suspected to be greater celandine (Koopman 1937).

References:

  • Koopman, H. 1937. A fatal case of celandine poisoning. Sammlung von Vergiftungsfallen, 8: 93-98.

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