However, with the recent resurgence in homestead farming and mixed land use, livestock such as goats once again have a higher chance of encountering white snakeroot with serious implications for the herd and its humans. Comments are moderated and will be posted after BBG staff review. White snakeroot is most easily identifiable in the fall, when its fluffy white flower heads appear, but it has another distinctive characteristic that appears when it leafs out in spring. . Roy, this is NOT the herb that is used medicinally! source citing the toxin issue in milk. White snakeroot contains a cocktail of toxic compounds that can poison goats and other livestock, causing neurological disorders commonly referred to as “trembles”, which can be fatal. One of the first things you’ll tend to learn upon Googling this plant is that it killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother, along with many other settlers, during America’s westward expansion. If you wish to dig deeper, searching the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service website produces many useful results. Research has shown that snakeroot’s toxicity is unpredictable; is there something different between modern snakeroot and the 1800s plant? … Cyanogenetic Containing Plant - White snakeroot grows from fibrous, matted roots as a smooth, erect, perennial herb 1 to 3 feet high with opposite, oval, pointed-tipped leaves with sharply-toothed edges. Symptoms of rosary pea inhalation poisoning are: difficult breathing, fever, nausea and fluid in the lungs. Thank you for the great information! As a retired vet, I say if it kills cows and horses, I wouldn’t let my animals near it! This perennial herb belongs to the family Asteraceae and also called as rich weed, white sanicle, or tall boneset. Thus snakeroot poisoning all but vanished as an issue for generations, and knowledge of its dangers diminished. White Snakeroot White Snakeroot famously killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother. In the human body, abrin bonds to cell membranes and prevents protein synthesis, one of the most important duties of the cell. Is this also poisonous to goats, I wonder? . To judge from the historical record, brush-fed goats and their owners should be dropping like flies throughout snakeroot’s range, but that doesn’t seem to be happening (or it’s going undiagnosed). White snakeroots are perennial plants, found in the eastern parts of Canada and the United States, in North America. Like to read more content, Join the Mother Earth News Community Today! White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) provides food for late summer and fall visitors, primarily small critters. In this post, we’ll discuss where to look for white snakeroot, how to identify it, the control methods we’ve attempted, and what recent research is available about its toxicity to goats, humans and other livestock. There are a number of breeds that are ferocious scratchers and diggers. International Subscribers - Click Here White snakeroot plants have coarse toothed, round-based leaves with pointed tips that grow opposite each other on erect stems that reach 3 feet (1 m.) tall. As you venture around the countryside this time of year you might notice the presence of a plant with white flowers along the edge of woodlands. All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. My question is, would they survive their service? We’ve been doing this for many years, and had hoped to see a significant reduction in plant population by now. I am thrilled. Next, we have the top of the plant with developing flower clusters . Consumption of the white snakeroot can cause mild or severe symptoms and may even result in death. White Snakeroot – Ageratina altissima. This is a great idea to feature a weed of the month; please continue doing so! 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