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First Posted: May 7, 2013
Dec 10, 2014

Death Camas, Deadly Zigadene, Hog Potato and Mystery-grass

Image: Wikipedia/Walter Siegmund (talk)
Toxicoscordion venenosum (syn. Zigadenus venenosus) commonly called death camas or meadow deathcamas

Deathcamas or Death Camas refers to several species of flowering plant in the tribe Melanthieae. The name alludes to the great similarity of appearance between these toxic plants, which were formerly classified together in the genus Zigadenus, and the edible camases (Camassia), with which they also often share habitat. Other common names for these plants include Deadly Zigadene, Hog Potato and Mystery-grass.

Toxicoscordion venenosum (syn. Zigadenus venenosus), commonly called death camas or meadow deathcamas, is a flowering plant in the genus Toxicoscordion belonging to the Melanthiaceae. It grows up to 70 cm tall with long, basal, grass-like leaves. The bulbs are oval and look like onions but do not smell like onions. The flowers are cream coloured or white and grow in pointed clusters, flowering between April and July. Death camas occurs in some parts of western North America and can be easily confused with edible onions of genus Allium. They tend to grow in dry meadows and on dry hillsides as well as sagebrush slopes and montane forests. ...

All parts of the plant are poisonous. It is dangerous for humans as well as livestock. Consumption of 2 to 6% of the body weight of the animal is likely to be fatal. Poisoning may occur in horses after they have eaten about 4 kg of the plants. Salivation, colic, muscular weakness, and staggering gait are reported in horses, with death occurring after several days. Alkaloids are responsible for the plants being poisonous.

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Plants poisones to horses