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    FLY POISON - Amianthium muscaetoxicum

FLY POISON FLY POISON
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Images on this page contributed by:  Ann F. Rhodes, PhD, Director of the Pennsylvania Flora Project

DescriptionFly poison has basal grass-like leaves and white flowers with dense racemes.
Geographic rangeFound in moist soils and open woodlands in the eastern United States, fly poison emerges in the spring before most other forages.
Toxic principleSeveral toxins have been identified in fly poison. These include cevanine-type veratrum ester alkaloids, amianthine, and jervine, which is a teratogen.
ToxicityLeaves and bulbs are neurotoxic.  In sheep and cattle, the toxic dose is 0.1-0.2% body weight and the lethal dose is 0.3% body weight of green plant.
Diagnosis

Clinical signsAfter a few hours, excessive salivation and vomiting are seen.  Later signs include colic, weakness, incoordination, and labored respiration.  Clinical signs generally disappear within 1-2 days.  In cases of ingestion of large amounts of the plant, animals may die due to respiratory failure within the first day.

LesionsSmall scattered hemorrhages may be seen.

TreatmentThere is no effective treatment.
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Copyright 2002

University of Pennsylvania
Created by:    Alexander Chan (2003), Daphne Downs (2002), Chris Tsai (2001), Brett Begley (2000), Janet Triplett (1997)
Faculty Advisor:  Dr. Robert Poppenga