Citrullus colocynthis (bitter apple, gourd). A member of the plant family
CUCURBITACEAE. Herbaceous plant with globular fleshy fruit with a hardened exterior
Animals most affected
Cattle, (pigs, horses).
Ingestion of the plant, although cases are
Contains an alkaloid: colocynthine. Drying does not modify or reduce the toxicity
of the plant. Note:the alkaloid is very slowly excreted by animals: do not eat meat or meat
products derived from poisoned animals.
Oral doses not well known:
0.25 g/kg per day (death in 25 days)
10 g/kg (death in 4 h)
Clinical features Minimal or moderate ingestion
nausea, sweating, severe colic, watery diarrhoea, tenesmus, polyuria;
Ingestion of large quantities
stupor, motor incoordination, opisthotonos, convulsions;
dyspnoea, weak pulse, exophthalmia, priapism;
hypothermia and rapid onset of death.
petechiae or haemorrhages visible on
the gastric mucosae and the kidneys.
No specific antidote. Symptomatic care only: