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COPPERWEED





Description

Copperweed may reach a height of 3 to 5 feet. A large number of stems grow from the crown. Each has many narrow leaves. Small flowering heads turn orange or yellow when mature. The plant keeps its copper color through the summer. Copperweed is a perennial in the sunflower family.



Cattle and sheep may be poisoned by feeding on copperweed when other food is scarce. Cattle are more likely to eat the plant in the fall, when they are being trailed from summer range. Sheep are occasionally poisoned in the fall and winter by eating dry leaves that have fallen to the ground. Most losses though appear in cattle.
Copperweed contains a toxic alkaloid that is dangerous at all times. Toxicity reaches a peak when the plant matures. Leaves and stems are equally toxic.



Where and When It Grows
Copperweed grows along old stream beds or gullies, where moisture is plentiful and the soils are usually high in salt.
The plant starts growth in the spring. Flowers appear during July and August.



How It Affects Livestock
Cattle are more susceptible to copperweed poisoning than sheep. Three pounds or an amount equal to 0.5 percent of the animal's body weight will cause death. Poisoned cattle die 24 to 48 hours. Poisoned sheep may linger 1 to 3 weeks before death.



Signs Of Poisoning
1. Loss of appetite
2. Depression
3. Weakness
4. Coma



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