Gymnocladus dioicus (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) is a tree that is occasionally planted as an ornamental in the warmer parts of Canada. The seeds and fruit pulp of this tree have poisoned humans and cattle. The foliage has caused the death of sheep in Maryland (Reynard and Norton 1942, Lampe and McCann 1985).

References:

  • Hill, S. R., Duke, P. K. 1986. 100 poisonous plants of Maryland. Univ. MD. Coop. Ext. Serv. Bull., 314. 55 pp.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Gymnocladus dioicus (L.) K. Koch
Vernacular name(s):
Kentucky coffeetree
Scientific family name:
Leguminosae
Vernacular family name:
pea

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Gymnocladus dioicus

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: Gymnocladus dioicus - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

The seeds contain a low concentration of the alkaloid cytisine, and chewing one or two seeds would not be enough to produce toxic results. This tree is an ornamental that survives and produces seeds in the warmer parts of the country; it grows successfully in Ottawa. In feeding experiments the foliage has proved to be toxic to sheep and the seeds to cattle (Reynard and Norton 1942, Lampe and McCann 1985).

Toxic parts:

  • leaves
  • seeds

References:

  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.
  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • cytisine

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.

Cattle

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Experimental feeding of seeds to cattle has caused congestion of the lungs and the fourth stomach (Reynard and Norton 1942).

References:

  • Reynard, G. B., Norton, J. B. 1942. Poisonous plants of Maryland in relation to livestock. Univ. MD. Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull., A10. 312 pp.

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.

Sheep

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

In one case in Maryland, 11 sheep died within 24 h of ingesting fresh cuttings from the Kentucky coffeetree (Hill and Duke 1985).

References:

  • Hill, S. R., Duke, P. K. 1986. 100 poisonous plants of Maryland. Univ. MD. Coop. Ext. Serv. Bull., 314. 55 pp.

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