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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Retrospective Searching for Poisonous Plant Vouchers

Authors
item Wagstaff, D - OREM UT
item Lellinger, David - SMITHSONIAN
item Wiersema, John

Submitted to: Veterinary and Human Toxicology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 30, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Animal poisoning by plants is often reported in the literature without citation of plant voucher specimens that are essential to determining the specific causal agent. Many of these voucher specimens do exist. This paper details the procedures for finding such voucher specimens and presents one example. By careful detective work it was possible to determine the voucher specimens for several poisoning cases and thus identify the causal plant species of Asclepias in the milkweed family. This publication provides an approach for conducting research to identify the plant species that cause animal poisoning.

Technical Abstract: Few published reports of plant poisoning, whether experimental or accidental, document vouchers. This can be rectified by retrospective location of vouhcers through determination of a collaborating botanist or herbarium of deposit. An absolute voucher is referenced in the toxicology report. For a probable voucher report does not identify an herbarium specimen, but the report and the specimen label or sheet agre on plant name, collector's name, collection datee and place. A possible voucher is perhaps from the exposure lot, but was collected by the collaborating botanist at a somewhat earlier or later date than the exposure date. On the other hand, a supporting specimen was collected by the collaborating botanist but is not from the exposure lot. Vouchers and supporting specimens for some species of Asclepias tested for toxicity by CD Marsh and coworkers were found in the US National Herbarium at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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