Gutierrezia sarothrae (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae) is a native perennial found in western rangelands. This plant has caused acute toxicity and abortion in cattle, which has also been experimentally induced in goats and sheep. The plant is more toxic during the early stages of growth and if it grows on poor, sandy soils. Major losses of cattle through acute toxicity and abortion have occurred in the southern United States, in Texas, and in New Mexico (Kingsbury 1964, Molyneux et al. 1980).

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.
  • Molyneux, R. J., Stevens, K. L., James, L. F. 1980. Chemistry of toxic range plants. Volatile constituents of broomweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae). J. Agric. Food Chem., 28: 1332-1333.
  • Ralphs, M. H. 1985. Poisonous plants: the snakeweeds. Rangelands, 7(2): 63-65.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britton & Rusby
Vernacular name(s):
broom snakeweed
Scientific family name:
Compositae
Vernacular family name:
composite

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Gutierrezia sarothrae

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
  • Manitoba
  • 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: Gutierrezia sarothrae - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

As little as 9 kg of fresh broom snakeweed has produced abortion in cattle within 7 days. Death has been experimentally produced in cattle, sheep, and goats by feeding fresh plants equivalent to 10-20% of body weight for 3 days to 2 weeks (Kingsbury 1964).

Toxic parts:

  • leaves
  • stems

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.
  • Molyneux, R. J., Stevens, K. L., James, L. F. 1980. Chemistry of toxic range plants. Volatile constituents of broomweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae). J. Agric. Food Chem., 28: 1332-1333.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

The essential oil contains monoterpenes, such as alpha-pinene and geraniol, and sesquiterpenes, such as gamma-humulene. However, Molyneux et al. (1980) do not believe that these chemicals contribute to the abortifacient nature of broom snakeweed. Saponins are believed to be the cause of the toxicity to animals and may also be implicated in the abortifacient fraction (Cheeke and Schull 1985).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • alpha-pinene
  • gamma-humulene

References:

  • Molyneux, R. J., Stevens, K. L., James, L. F. 1980. Chemistry of toxic range plants. Volatile constituents of broomweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae). J. Agric. Food Chem., 28: 1332-1333.

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:

Acute toxicity includes symptoms of listlessness, anorexia, rough coat, diarrhea or constipation, vaginal discharge, and hematuria. Cattle produce a nasal discharge, and the muzzle becomes crusty. Lesions include those of gastroenteritis and degeneration of the kidneys and liver. Severe toxic nephritis with necrosis occurs in serious cases. The spleen may be congested and the uterus, edematous. Abortion is a major result of poisoning. Premature calves are weak or are dead at birth with retained placenta. The pregnant cow may experience swelling of the vulva and early udder development (Kingsbury 1964, Molyneux et al. 1980, Ralphs 1985).

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.
  • Ralphs, M. H. 1985. Poisonous plants: the snakeweeds. Rangelands, 7(2): 63-65.

Goats

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

Sheep

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Symptoms of broom snakeweed poisoning in sheep are similar to those in cattle and include anorexia, rough coat, diarrhea or constipation, vaginal discharge, and hematuria. Sheep display minor icterus. Lesions include those of gastroenteritis and degeneration of the liver and kidneys. Toxic nephritis is found in severe cases. Abortion also occurs, but less frequently than in cattle (Kingsbury 1964).

References:

  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1964. Poisonous plants of the United States and Canada. Prentice-Hall Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., USA. 626 pp.

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