Epidemiology of intoxication of domestic animals by plants in Europe

Vet J. 2013 Aug;197(2):163-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Apr 6.


This review focuses on some of the most important poisonous plants in Europe and provides an overview of the poisoning episodes that have occurred in European countries. Poisoning of livestock and companion animals by plants is a relatively common occurrence. In Europe livestock and horses are commonly poisoned by Datura stramonium (Jimson weed), Senecio spp. (ragworts and groundsels), Quercus spp. (oak), Taxus baccata (European yew), Nerium oleander (oleander), Pteridium aquilinum (bracken fern), Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust) and Rhododendron spp. (rhododendrons and azaleas). Poisoning may occur when the fresh plant is ingested in pasture or when it contaminates hay or silage. In pets, the greatest majority of plant poisonings are the result of ingestion of house or garden plants, such as Cycas revoluta (Sago palm), Ricinus communis (castor bean), Allium spp., Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia), Lilium spp., Convallaria majalis (Lily of the valley), Pyracantha spp. (firethorn), Rhododendron spp. (rhododendrons and azaleas), Melia azedarach (Chinaberry tree), Taxus baccata (European yew) and Nerium oleander (oleander).

Keywords: Domestic animals; Poisoning; Poisonous plants; Toxicoepidemiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Animal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Animals
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Livestock*
  • Pets*
  • Plants, Toxic / toxicity*