Daphne gnidium (spurge-flax, wolf spurge), D. mezereum (mezereon, spurge olive, February daphne), D. laureola (spurge laurel). Members of the plant family THYMELACEAE. Daphne includes attractive fragrant-flowered, ornamental shrubs or trees. Popular plants, cultivated for parks as well as for decorative indoor or conservatory use: (D. mezereum), species bearing scarlet-red berries, (D. gnidium, D. mezereum), or with green fruit which blacken upon ripening (D. laureola). The fruits each contain globose oily brown seeds.

[affected.gif] Animals most affected
All animals.

[etiology.gif] Etiology
Ingestion of the bark, berries or branches in times of food shortage. Poisoning by the plant very rare due to its extremely bitter taste.

[toxic.gif] Toxicity
All parts of the plant are highly toxic and contain mezerein, an acrid, bitter resin that is extremely irritant.
Oral doses not well known:
LD horses 30 g bark
  pigs, dogs several berries

[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Gastrointestinal (very severe)



If the animal recovers, possibility of sequelae (nephritis).

[lesions.gif] Lesions

[treatm~1.gif] Treatment
No specific antidote. Symptomatic care only, often with minimal effect:

[case.gif] Case summaries
In southern Corsica, poisoning of sheep and goats by wolf spurge (D. gnidium) has been reported. Incidents of poisoning occur where the dense undergrowth (or 'maquis') has been cut back and rotavated. Wolf spurge is deeply rooted and thus regrows readily. During times of drought the shrub is the only green plant available to grazing animals.

[clinical.gif] Clinical features
Intense and severe gastric disturbances (diarrhoea) with painful spasms (in ewes,
death may occur very suddenly, almost without any preceding clinical signs). Lesions observed in these cases are pulmonary oedema (always in the case of ewes) and acute or peracute enteritis.