Field Guide to Plants Poisonous to Livestock: Western U.S.
Common names: Mountain, Black or Sierra laurel
Region: W. coastal states
Habitat: Lakesides, streamsides, mountain meadows
Toxic season: Year-round
Features: Evergreen shrub to 5' tall. Leaves are primarily toothless, thickly lance-shaped, stiff and leathery, alternate, up to 3" long. Flowers are small, white, somewhat urn-shaped in thick elongated clusters up to 4" long at branch ends.
Poison type: Diterpenoid compounds (grayanotoxins)
Signs/effects: Disruptive to normal skeletal and cardiac muscle and nerve function. Signs include slow/irregular heart rate, blurred vision, paralysis, excessive salivation or foaming at the mouth, depression, vomiting, colic, labored breathing, prostration, possibly coma and death.
Treatment: Activated charcoal, purgatives if early after ingestion. Keep animal quiet, provide good quality feed and water. Medication may be needed to restore heart efficiency.
Comments: Leaves are most frequently eaten; as little as 1 oz. of leaves may be lethal to a sheep. All livestock are known to be susceptible. Toxic to humans. Other members of the genus may also be poisonous.
© Copyright 1998 by Shirley A. Weathers