COLUMBIA, Mo. – Some house plants and shrubs contain toxins in the leaves, stems or flowers and can be poisonous to pets and livestock.
Be careful don’t throw pruned shrubs or dying house plants over the fence that livestock have access to, according to John Hobbs, University of Missouri Extension.
Toxic to livestock. Homeowners need to be aware that there are several landscape plants that are poisonous to livestock. Probably the most toxic are Japanese yews.
Also the azalea, rhododendrons, black locust, boxwood, buckeye, elderberry, Virginia creeper, and wisteria can cause serious illness or death with sufficient amounts consumed to livestock.
“There have been several confirmed cases of cow deaths due to cows eating Japanese yew trimmings and in one case trimmings were buried in a ravine but sprouted and grew the next spring and killed several head of the farmer’s cattle,” said Hobbs.
Wilted tree leaves of the prunus family, such as cherry and plum, will give off cyanide gas and when eaten causes asphyxiation in ruminants.
Houseplants, too. Certain house plants can be toxic especially to curious pets that like to chew on things. These pets may end up chewing and consuming parts of plants.
“House plants that can kill a pet if they are consumed are the Chinese evergreen, calla lily, dieffenbachia, croton, and elephant ear,” said Hobbs.
Watch rhubarb. There are also several flowers that you would not want to throw over the fence to livestock.
For example, Hobbs says caladiums, cardinal flowers, and castor beans plants will poison livestock.
Rhubarb creates hypocalcaemia or a low calcium condition which in turn, will cause kidney failure in goats.