Ilex aquifolium (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

English holly (Ilex aquifolium) has been implicated in cases where children have eaten the berries. Kingsbury (1969) noted that the often- quoted fatal dosage of 20-30 berries comes from European literature before 1889 and that this quantity has not been confirmed. Modern references show that symptoms are usually confined to vomiting and diarrhea (Cooper and Johnson 1984, Lampe and McCann 1985). This holly is used as an outdoor ornamental, and the glossy green leaves and red berries may be sold as Christmas decorations.

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.
  • Kingsbury, J. M. 1969. Phytotoxicity 1. Major problems associated with poisonous plants. Clin. Pharmacol. Ther., 10: 163-169.
  • 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:
Ilex aquifolium L.
Vernacular name(s):
English holly
Scientific family name:
Aquifoliaceae
Vernacular family name:
holly

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Ilex aquifolium

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: Ilex aquifolium - Google Search

Toxic parts:

  • Mature fruit

References:

  • Willems, M. 1988. A cyanogenic glucoside from Ilex aquifolium. Phytochemistry (Oxf.), 27: 1852-1853.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Ilicin, a glycoside, has been implicated as the toxic substance in in holly berries (Rodrigues et al. 1984). A cyanogenic glycoside, (2-beta-D-glucopyranosyloxy-p-hydroxy-6,7-dihydromandelonitrile) has also been isolated from the berries of English holly. The chemical also occurs in lower concentrations in the leaves and stems. A common name for this chemical has not been established yet (Willems 1988).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • Dihydromandelonitrile ilicin

References:

  • Willems, M. 1988. A cyanogenic glucoside from Ilex aquifolium. Phytochemistry (Oxf.), 27: 1852-1853.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.

Humans

General symptoms of poisoning:

Notes on poisoning:

Symptoms include multiple episodes of vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. If a large number of berries are ingested, vomiting should be induced with an emetic. Conservative management is generally adequate (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.
  • Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill.,USA. 432 pp.

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