Euphorbia lathyris (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Caper spurge (Euphorbia lathyris) is an outdoor ornamental that has become naturalized in British Columbia. This plant contains an irritant toxin in the latex. Humans have been poisoned after ingesting the seed capsules, which resemble capers, a different plant. Goats apparently eat this plant without experiencing great problems, but the toxin can accumulate and can be passed through the milk (Fuller and McClintock 1986).

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

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Euphorbia lathyris L.
Vernacular name(s):
caper spurge
Scientific family name:
Euphorbiaceae
Vernacular family name:
spurge

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Euphorbia lathyris

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

  • British Columbia

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: Euphorbia lathyris - Google Search

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.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Caper spurge contains unidentified ingenol derivatives that are toxic diterpenes. The activity of the toxins are not affected by drying or storage (Frohne and Pfander 1983, Cooper and Johnson 1984).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • 5-deoxyingenol

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.

Goats

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Caper spurge has seed capsules that resemble true capers. In Europe, adults were poisoned when they mistakenly ingested caper spurge. They experienced intense burning of the mouth and stomach, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and eventual recovery. The latex is corrosive and causes skin irritation (Cooper and Johnson 1984, Fuller and McClintock 1986).

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

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