13 Sep Daphne Are Flowering
Daphne plants are currently flowering in many parts of the country. There are many species of Daphne with varying degrees of toxicity. They all contain toxic compounds (daphnetoxin and mezerein) in their fruit, leaves and bark.
When parts of the Daphne plant are chewed on or ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, oesophagus and stomach. Signs of mild to moderate poisoning include drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite and diarrhoea that may contain blood.
In severe poisoning, inflammation of the kidney, irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), seizures, coma and death can occur but are not common. The plant is generally not palatable to animals and the fruits, which have the highest concentration of toxin, are quite bitter to taste therefore deterring animals from ingesting large quantities.
Since most animals leave this plant alone, we do not think it is necessary to remove Daphne plants from all gardens. However, if you notice your pet or a farm animal is inclined to chew on these shrubs or eat the berries it would be a good idea to remove them from areas animals can access.
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This post has been gratefully sponsored by a grant from Animal Welfare Victoria.