Euonymus europaeus (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

European spindletree (Euonymous europaeus) is an ornamental shrub that can grow in the warmer parts of Canada. The shrub has poisoned children as well as goats, horses, and sheep. Children are attracted to the mature fleshy orange fruits, which contain seeds with cardiac glycosides and alkaloids. Children have become quite ill. Fatal poisoning has occurred in two horses after they ingested shoots of this plant (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Cooper and Johnson 1984, Lampe and McCann 1985).

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.
  • 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:
Euonymus europaeus L.
Vernacular name(s):
European spindletree
Scientific family name:
Celastraceae
Vernacular family name:
stafftree

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Euonymus europaeus

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: Euonymus europaeus - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

The conspicuous fruiting structures of the European spindletree entice children to eat them. The seeds contain toxins that have caused poisoning of children (Frohne and Pfander 1983).

Toxic parts:

  • Bark
  • Leaves
  • Seeds

References:

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

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Several cardiac glycosides have been found in the seeds, including evomonoside, whose aglycone is digitoxigenin. Alkaloids also make up about 0.1% of the seeds, including evonine. The toxicity of the alkaloidal fraction has not been studied. Cardiac glycosides are also found in the leaves and bark (the alkaloid content is too low to be of any consequence) (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • Evomonoside
  • Evonine

References:

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

Goats

No details on poisoning symptoms available.

Horses

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

In one case in Europe, two horses had access to the shoots of European spindletree and they ingested large quantities of them. The animals suffered paralysis of the digestive tract. The pulse was rapid and the horses died within 4 days. Postmortem examination showed inflammation of the intestines (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:

Notes on poisoning:

Children are attracted to the bright orange fruits, which contain toxic seeds. Symptoms occur 10-12 h after ingestion and include diarrhea, vomiting, stimulation of the heart and, in more severe cases, hallucination and loss of consciousness. In one fatal case, the child had blood-stained diarrhea and convulsions before 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.

Sheep

No details on poisoning symptoms available.

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