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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Beastly Beauty

Hmm ... it doesn't look that beastly does it?  In fact, it's really quite dainty; almost enticing you to pick it!  Meet Zigadenus venenosus ... otherwise known as 'Death Camas' or Meadow Death Camas!  True to it's name, this native perennial herb is one of our most toxic springtime plants and is considered poisonous to all livestock and humans.  In fact, even honey bees are poisoned by the pollen and nectar!  The toxic alkaloid 'zygadenine' is found throughout the entire plant and can cause some fairly serious consequences when ingested, including seizure, coma and death!

Death Camas has certainly had a history of causing livestock losses over the years, especially during droughts.  This 'nasty' little plant is busy blooming these days, however, if your pastures are in good range health, your livestock will have plenty of grass to eat and will usually avoid eating Death Camas leaving it stand for admiration!


  1. Oh boy Terri, I always learn so much. Don't know this plant!! Thanks for the beautiful image and the botany lesson!

    1. Haha! It's the Range Agrologist still floating around in me Gena! It's a plant that is there in the spring but not usually in abundance ... likely a good thing!



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