White Snakeroot: A Plant Toxic to Your Goats and Yourself

| 8/19/2015 10:05:00 AM

Tags: white snakeroot, goats, dairy goats, toxic substances, livestock, Eric Reuter, Missouri,


Homestead dairy herds can encounter a wide variety of poisonous plants, but few have the potential to be as troublesome or frightening as white snakeroot (Ageratina altissima, formerly Eupatorium rugosum). This medium-sized perennial herb, which we first learned about in 2008, can be toxic not only to the livestock consuming it, but to humans consuming dairy products and meat from those livestock.

One of the first things you’ll tend to learn upon Googling this plant is that it killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother, along with many other settlers, during America’s westward expansion. Surprisingly, for such a concerning plant, it’s a relatively obscure member of the “watch out for this” club; many books we’ve read about small-herd livestock don’t even mention it.

In this post, we’ll discuss where to look for white snakeroot, how to identify it, the control methods we’ve attempted, and what recent research is available about its toxicity to goats, humans and other livestock.

How to Find and Identify White Snakeroot



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