Rosebay Willowherb – Toxic Plant of the Week

Rosebay Willowherb

Welcome to our weekly Monday morning edition of the a-z of plants that are dangerous to your horse. Today’s plant is only found in northern regions & is an absolutely beautiful bad boy. While Rosebay Willowherb is quite bad for your horse, it is brilliantly easy to recognize.

A Little About Rosebay Willowherb

Chamerion angustifolium is also called Fireweed & Rosebay Willowherb. This is a perennial herb with reddish, smooth stems. Leaves are lanceolate & alternate. Flowers are magenta/ pink & radially symmetrical with four petals.

How Dangerous Is It?

While common where it grows & can easily be found in grazing areas, this plant is not palatable & generally only a problem during drought conditions. However, it is highly toxic & worth recognizing on sight. Rosebay Willowherb contains Grayanotoxin, which affects skeletal/ cardiac muscle & nerve function.

All parts of this plant are toxic & can be fatal to equines.

Rosebay Willowherb

What To Look For

You know your animal the best, so you should know when something is amiss. Rosebay Willowherb toxicity symptoms occur within a few hours of ingestion & include digestive upset, drooling, loss of appetite, diarrhea, colic, depression, weakness, loss of coordination, stupor, paralysis of the legs & weak heart rate.

Learn More

Be sure to check out the Rosebay Willowherb page to learn more about the plant & while you are at it why not check out more toxic plants?

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*It should be noted that we’re not veterinarians. This information is written specifically for horses & should be used for reference purposes only. If you think your horse has eaten something toxic call your vet right away.

One Comment on “Rosebay Willowherb – Toxic Plant of the Week

  1. jaelle

    I can not find anything about that this herb is toxic anywhere else on the internet. only info that it is a very beneficial plant and eaten by humans. can there be a mix up? or could you tell me more about this?
    i am currently fencing in a piece of land with lots of this herb so would be good to know if it is really dangerous:), our horses have eaten quite some of it and no problems yet..

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