Sneezeweed has one or several stems. Leaves are alternate, lanced shaped, and smooth edged. Orange flowers with darker orange centers grow in clusters. Sneezeweed is a perennial in the sunflower family. It grows in high mountain meadows and on hillsides. Plants may be 1 to 3 feet high.
Animals that feed on this plant become affected with "spewing sickness." The disease gets its name from its most characteristic sign- chronic vomiting or spewing. In the Western States, orange sneezeweed-the most common species- is spreading rapidly over large areas of range. Sheep are frequently poisoned by eating this plant; cattle are poisoned occasionally. Animals eat it in the summer and fall, when other forage is scarce or has become less palatable.
All parts are poisonous. The poisonous substance is a glucoside that has a cumulative effect.
Where and When It Grows
Sneezeweed grows at elevations of 5,000 to 12,000 feet on moist slopes and well drained meadows.
It is found from western Montana and eastern Oregon southward to California and New Mexico. It starts growth in the early spring and matures in the late summer and early fall.
This is an invader plant, which increases its area with range misuse. Heavy stands of sneezeweed will inhibit the growth of other plants.
How It Affects Livestock
An animal may die if it eats small quantities of this plant over a long period. Sheep may be poisoned by eating about 2 pounds of sneezeweed leaves daily for 10 days. Some animals die within a few days after the first signs appear. Others that develop a chronic form of poisoning may live for 2 or 3 weeks. Complete recovery from the poisoning is possible if animals are taken off the plants as soon as the first signs are observed.
Signs of poisoning:
3. Irregular pulse
4. Frothing at the mouth
6. Chronic vomiting or spewing
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