Ferula communis (common
ferula, feshook, giant fennel). Related species: F. ferulago, F. glaucosa F.
foetida (Asa fetida), F. galbaniflua (Galbanum). A member of the
plant family UMBELLIFERAE. A very tall plant, with a solid
stem bearing greyish leaves with a soft felt-like covering of hairs. Large inflorescences
of pale yellow flowers and thin, flat, oval fruits (Mediterranean region).
Animals most affected
Sheep, (cattle, pigs).
Ingestion of contaminated fodder (rarely fresh plant material).
Contains an irritant, rubefacient sap (a latex) and a toxic principle which reduces
blood prothrombin levels and precipitates a hypothrombinaemia.
The whole plant is toxic during its growing phase (the roots are the most poisonous
Oral doses are not known.
2.5-5 g/kg per day over a period of 5 weeks (experimental data)
fatigue, lassitude, depression;
epistaxis during the first few hours, followed by:
haemorrhagic diarrhoea, haematuria, profound anaemia, increase in prothrombin
time (increase in Quick's Test);
death within 24-48 hours.
subcutaneous and intramuscular haemorrhages in the abdominal cavity, the mucous
membranes of the trachea, intestines and bladder;
fatty degeneration of the liver.
No antidote. Symptomatic care only:
blood transfusion (the most effective treatment);
vitamin K1: 2 mg/kg (im, iv) effectiveness not fully established;