Oxytropis sericea (Scientific name)

General poisoning notes:

Locoweed (Oxytropis sericea) is a native herb in western Canada. This plant has caused a number of problems in cattle, horses, and sheep. Swainsonine, an indolizidine alkaloid, inhibits alpha-mannosidase in animal bodies, which can lead to disruption of cellular function. Locoism is a chronic disease that causes depression, incoordination, and nervousness under stress. Death can result. The cellular problems occur most readily in tissues of the nervous system. Pregnant animals often abort or give birth to young with congenital deformities. Congestive right heart disease occurs at high altitudes (above 2190 m) in cattle. Right ventricular hypertrophy and dilation, subcutaneous edema, and pulmonary hypertension are significant symptoms (James 1983, Cheeke and Schull 1985, James et al. 1986, Panter et al. 1988).

References:

  • Cheeke, P. R., Shull, L. R. 1985. Natural toxicants in feeds and poisonous plants. AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, Conn., USA. 492 pp.
  • James, L. F., Hartley, W. J., Nielsen, D., Allen, S., Panter, K. E. 1986. Locoweed (Oxytropis sericea) poisoning and congestive heart failure in cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 189: 1549-1556.
  • James, L. F. 1983. Neurotoxins and other toxins from Astragalus and related genera. Pages 445-462 in Keeler, R. F., Tu, A. T., eds. Handbook of natural toxins. Vol. 1. Plant and Fungal toxins. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., USA. 934 pp.
  • Panter, K. E., James, L. F., Nielson, D., Molyneux, R. J., Ralphs, M. H. 1988. The relationship of Oxytropis sericea (green and dry) and Astragalus lentiginosus with high mountain disease in cattle. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 30: 318-323.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Nielsen, D. B., Panter, K. E. 1984. Management practices reduce cattle loss to locoweed on high mountain range. Rangelands, 6: 175-177.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Pfister, J. A. 1986. Utilization of white locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nutt.) by range cattle. J. Range Manage., 39: 344-347.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name:
Oxytropis sericea Nutt.
Vernacular name(s):
locoweed (Oxytropis sericea)
Scientific family name:
Leguminosae
Vernacular family name:
pea

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Oxytropis sericea

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
  • British Columbia
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon Territory

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: Oxytropis sericea - Google Search

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

The blooms and mature fruit of locoweed have higher quantities of the toxin swainsonine than do the leaves. The concentration of this toxin remains constant in leaves throughout the grazing season (Ralphs et al. 1986.)

Toxic parts:

  • flowers
  • leaves
  • mature fruit
  • seeds
  • stems

References:

  • James, L. F., Hartley, W. J., Nielsen, D., Allen, S., Panter, K. E. 1986. Locoweed (Oxytropis sericea) poisoning and congestive heart failure in cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 189: 1549-1556.
  • James, L. F. 1983. Neurotoxins and other toxins from Astragalus and related genera. Pages 445-462 in Keeler, R. F., Tu, A. T., eds. Handbook of natural toxins. Vol. 1. Plant and Fungal toxins. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., USA. 934 pp.
  • Panter, K. E., James, L. F., Nielson, D., Molyneux, R. J., Ralphs, M. H. 1988. The relationship of Oxytropis sericea (green and dry) and Astragalus lentiginosus with high mountain disease in cattle. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 30: 318-323.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Nielsen, D. B., Panter, K. E. 1984. Management practices reduce cattle loss to locoweed on high mountain range. Rangelands, 6: 175-177.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Pfister, J. A. 1986. Utilization of white locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nutt.) by range cattle. J. Range Manage., 39: 344-347.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

Swainsonine, an indolizidine alkaloid, inhibits alpha-mannosidase in the animal's body. Inhibition results in the accumulation of oligosaccharides in cells because glycosidases remove their respective sugars until a mannose residue is reached. Hydrolysis of the carbohydrate then stops. Eventually disruption of cellular function results. The effect of swainsonine on alpha-mannosidase is reversible when locoweed is no longer consumed. However, advanced clinical signs are irreversible because axon degeneration occurs. The central nervous system is most sensitive to mannose accumulation (Cheeke and Schull 1985).

Toxic plant chemicals:

  • slaframine
  • swainsonine

References:

  • Cheeke, P. R., Shull, L. R. 1985. Natural toxicants in feeds and poisonous plants. AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, Conn., USA. 492 pp.
  • Molyneux, R. J., James, L. F. 1982. Loco intoxication: indolizidine alkaloids of spotted locoweed (Astragalus lentiginosus). Science (Wash. D. C.), 216: 190-191.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Pfister, J. A. 1986. Utilization of white locoweed (Oxytropis sericea Nutt.) by range cattle. J. Range Manage., 39: 344-347.

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:

References:

  • Cheeke, P. R., Shull, L. R. 1985. Natural toxicants in feeds and poisonous plants. AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, Conn., USA. 492 pp.
  • James, L. F., Hartley, W. J., Nielsen, D., Allen, S., Panter, K. E. 1986. Locoweed (Oxytropis sericea) poisoning and congestive heart failure in cattle. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc., 189: 1549-1556.
  • Panter, K. E., James, L. F., Nielson, D., Molyneux, R. J., Ralphs, M. H. 1988. The relationship of Oxytropis sericea (green and dry) and Astragalus lentiginosus with high mountain disease in cattle. Vet. Hum. Toxicol., 30: 318-323.
  • Ralphs, M. H., James, L. F., Nielsen, D. B., Panter, K. E. 1984. Management practices reduce cattle loss to locoweed on high mountain range. Rangelands, 6: 175-177.

Horses

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • James, L. F. 1983. Neurotoxins and other toxins from Astragalus and related genera. Pages 445-462 in Keeler, R. F., Tu, A. T., eds. Handbook of natural toxins. Vol. 1. Plant and Fungal toxins. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, N.Y., USA. 934 pp.

Sheep

General symptoms of poisoning:

References:

  • Cheeke, P. R., Shull, L. R. 1985. Natural toxicants in feeds and poisonous plants. AVI Publishing Company, Inc., Westport, Conn., USA. 492 pp.

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