Poisonous Plants

  • PK Gupta


This chapter deals with the toxic effects of some of the common poisonous plants containing various toxic principles such as alkaloids, cyanogenic glycosides, nitrate- and nitrite-accumulating plants, strychnine poisoning, and various mushroom toxins in animals. Problems can also occur with animals in ornamental gardens, natural environments, and homes. Poisoning in humans and companion animals from toxic plants also continues to be a significant risk, especially to pets and children. Plant poisoning in small animals is usually accidental. Lack of understanding and increased grazing pressure on these small acreages often contribute to the consumption of toxic plants by animals. It is recommended (1) not to throw grass, shrub, or tree clippings into paddocks where animals reside (yew clippings are a common cause of poisoning in many animals); (2) provide free access to freshwater and minerals/salt and do not overstock the range or pastures; (3) avoid bedding, lambing/calving, watering, salting, or unloading hungry animals near poisonous plant populations; and (4) avoid excess stress to those animals showing clinical signs of poisoning, and if necessary, contact the veterinarian. If economically feasible, control poisonous plants through hand grubbing, mechanical clipping, or herbicide treatment.


Poisonous plants Pyrrolizidine alkaloid-containing plants Photosensitizing plants Cyanogenic glycosides Nitrate and nitrates Strychnine poisoning Question and answer bank Multiple choice questions 

Further Reading

  1. Gopalakrishnakone P, Carlini CR, Ligabue-Braun R (eds) (2017) Plant toxins. Springer NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  2. Gupta PK (1988) Veterinary toxicology, (Chapter 5). Cosmo Publications, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  3. Gupta PK (2014) Essential concepts in toxicology (Chapters 26). BSP Pvt Ltd, HyderabadGoogle Scholar
  4. Gupta PK (2016) Fundamental in toxicology: essential concepts and applications in toxicology (Chapter 26). Elsevier /BSPGoogle Scholar
  5. Gupta PK (2018) Illustrative toxicology, 1st edn. Elsevier, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  6. Gupta RC (ed) (2018) Veterinary toxicology: basic and clinical principles, 3rd edn. Academic Press/Elsevier, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  7. Klaassen CD, Watkins JB III (eds) (2015) Casarett & Doull’s essentials of toxicology, 3rd edn. McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
  8. Panter KE, Welch KD, Gardner DR, Lee ST, Green BT, Pfister JA, Cook D, Davis TZ, Stegelmeier BL (2018) Poisonous plants of the United States. In: Gupta RC (ed) Veterinary toxicology: basic and clinical principles, 3rd edn. Academic Press/Elsevier, San Diego, pp 837–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • PK Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.Toxicology Consulting Group, Academy of Sciences for Animal WelfareBareillyIndia

Personalised recommendations