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Maple Leaves

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Notes on poisoning: wild onion


General poisoning notes:

Wild onion (Allium canadense) is a native herb found in parts of eastern Canada. This plant can cause gastroenteritis in young children who ingest parts of this plant. Chronic ingestion of the bulbs reduces iodine uptake by the thyroid gland, which can lead to problems. No specific treatment is suggested other than to prevent dehydration (Lampe and McCann 1985). Livestock have also been poisoned by ingesting wild onions, and some have died (Pipal 1918). Horses have developed hemolytic anemia from ingesting wild onion leaves (Scoggan 1989).

References:

Lampe, K. F., McCann, M. A. 1985. AMA Handbook of poisonous and injurious plants. American Medical Assoc. Chicago, Ill., USA. 432 pp.

Pipal, F. J. 1918. A suspected case of stock poisoning by wild onion (Allium canadense). Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci., 1917: 139.

Nomenclature:

Scientific Name: Allium canadense L.

Vernacular name(s): wild onion

Scientific family name: Liliaceae

Vernacular family name: lily

Go to ITIS*ca for more taxonomic information on: Allium canadense

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

New Brunswick
Ontario
Quebec

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

wild onion:

Images: images.google.com

Toxic parts:

bulbs
leaves

References:

Scoggan, R. D. 1989. Wild onion toxicosis and other hemolytic anemia toxins. Equine professional topics. Univ. Ill. Urbana-Champagne Ext., 14(1): 1-2.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

The three onion species (Allium spp.) mentioned in this information system contain S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide (SMCO), which is a sulfur- containing alpha-amino acid . The empirical formula is C4-H9-O3-NS. The common garden onion (A. cepa) contains the following:

- 100 mg/kg wet weight of SMCO in the leaves,

- 1600 mg/kg wet weight of SMCO in the bulbs (Benevenga et al. 1989)
.

Toxic plant chemicals:

S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide (SMCO)

References:

Benevenga, N. J., Case, G. L., Steele, R. D. 1989. Occurrence and metabolism of s-methyl-l-cysteine and s-methyl-l-cysteine sulfoxide in plants and their toxicity and metabolism in animals. Pages 203-228 in Cheeke, P. R., ed. Toxicants of plant origin. Vol. III. Proteins and amino acids. CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Fla., USA. 271 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:

breathing, rapid
death
gastroenteritis
heart rate, elevated
Heinz bodies
recumbency
weakness

References:

Pipal, F. J. 1918. A suspected case of stock poisoning by wild onion (Allium canadense). Proc. Indiana Acad. Sci., 1917: 139.

Horses

Humans

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Date modified: 2009-09-01