Late season toxic alkaloid concentrations in tall larkspur (Delphinium spp.)
AuthorGardner, D. R.
Pfister, J. A.
MetadataShow full item record
CitationGardner, D. R., & Pfister, J. A. (2000). Late season toxic alkaloid concentrations in tall larkspur (Delphinium spp.). Journal of Range Management, 53(3), 329-334.
PublisherSociety for Range Management
JournalJournal of Range Management
AbstractTall larkspurs [Delphinium barbeyi (L. Huth), D. occidentale (Wats.), D. glaucescens (Rydb.), D. glaucum (Wats.)] pose a serious poisoning threat to cattle on many summer ranges. Livestock producers often defer grazing until larkspur is mature, but specific information is lacking on toxic alkaloid concentrations in larkspur from pod stage to senescence. Tall larkspur leaves and seed pods were collected about every 2 weeks during the pod stage to senescence from marked plants in locations in Utah (Logan and Salina), Idaho (Ashton, Humphrey, and Oakley), Colorado (Yampa and Montrose), and California (Carson Pass) from 1995 to 1997. Toxic alkaloid concentions in pods (average= 2.9mg/g) exceeded leaf alkaloid concentrations (average= 1.5 mg/g in all species, but the magnitude of the difference varied among the 4 species. Leaves showed a more rapid decrease in toxic alkaloid concentration with plant maturity compared to pods. Seed pods did not begin to lose substantial amounts of toxic alkaloid until larkspur matured and pods began to dessicate. At seed shatter, D. glaucescens pods retained more toxic alkaloid than the other species, and alkaloid concentration was sufficiently high after pods had shattered (3.5 mg/g) to pose a moderate grazing risk. After seed shatter, the toxic alkaloid concentrations in leaves and pods of D. barbeyi, D. occidentale, and D. glaucum were generallyless than 2 mg/g; thus, risk of losing cattle would be low for the remainder of the grazing season
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Toxic alkaloid concentration in tall larkspur species in the western U.SRalphs, M. H.; Manners, G. D.; Pfister, J. A.; Gardner, D. R.; James, L. F. (Society for Range Management, 1997-09-01)Larkspur (Delphinium spp.) kills more cattle on mountain rangelands in the western U.S. than any other plant, disease or predator. The concentration of toxic alkaloids was measured in 4 larkspur species, at 10 locations, at 2-week intervals during the growing season. In addition, multi-year samples from previous studies were analyzed to determine year-to-year variation in toxic alkaloids. Mountain larkspur (D. glaucum Wats.) had the highest concentration of toxic alkaloids averaged over growth stages (1.01% of dry weight), tall, (D. barbeyi (L.) Huth) and waxy larkspur (D. glaucesens Rydb) were intermediate (0.65 and 0.49% respectively), and duncecap (D. occidentale S. Watts) was lowest (0.29%). Toxic alkaloid concentration generally declined as the plants matured. However, toxic alkaloids in tall larkspur at Yampa, Colo. increased slightly in the pod stage, and toxic alkaloids in waxy larkspur increased from the vegetative to the bud stage. Concentration of toxic alkaloids in tall and duncecap larkspur leaves were higher in plants growing in open sunlight than those shaded under aspen or conifer canopy. Toxic alkaloid concentration varied among individual plants (C.V. 20-60%). Knowledge of the toxic alkaloid concentration of larkspur populations can be used to predict the risk of larkspur poisoning.
Alkaloid levels in a species of low larkspur and their stability in rumen fluidMajak, W. (Society for Range Management, 1993-03-01)A survey on the levels of the neurotoxic diterpenoid alkaloid methyllycaconitine (MLA) in low larkspur (Delphinium nuttallianum Pritz.) was conducted at rangeland sites in southern British Columbia. Freeze-dried plant samples representing vegetative, flower bud, and bloom stages of growth over 4 growing seasons were analyzed for MLA by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). Differences in MLA concentration were found between sites (P < 0.01) and between stages of growth (P < 0.001) but not between years (P > 0.2). The vegetative stages of growth yielded the highest levels of MLA, approaching 1% of the dry matter at 1 site. On average, the reproductive stages of growth yielded half the amount of MLA as the vegetative stages. Differences in MLA levels between sites could not be attributed to the elevation or the weather during the growing season. It is suggested that topoedaphic effects may have an impact on low larkspur growth and toxicity. Preliminary results are also reported on the stability of MLA in bovine rumen contents. The alkaloid is not readily hydrolyzed in rumen contents and therefore is probably not detoxified by this pathway.
Utilization of larkspur by sheepRalphs, M. H.; Bowns, J. E.; Manners, G. D. (Society for Range Management, 1991-11-01)Sheep are more resistent to larkspur (Delphinium spp.) poisoning than are cattle, and may be used as a biological tool to graze larkspur prior to cattle turn-in to reduce the risk of cattle poisoning. Sheep utilization of 3 species of larkspur was measured at 3 phenological growth states (vegetative, bud, and flower) at 5 locations. Utilization of waxy larkspur (D. glaucescens Wats), varied among years at Ruby, Mont. Use of duncecap larkspur (D. occidentals. Wats) at Oakley, Ida., was uniformly higher in all 3 growth stages due to closed herding practices. Use of tall larkspur (D. barbeyi Huth) increased as it matured. Trailing sheep through larkspur patches, or bedding them in patches greatly increased trampling of larkspur stalks and utilization of heads and leaves.