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Dangerous Beauty: Lupine on the Eva Lake Trail # 2755

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Date: 2002.09.04
Vantage Point: From Eva Lake Trail

Caption: Lupines ([i]Lupinus[/i] sp.) are members of the legume family.

PhotoDescr: Thanks to a late spring and a lingering summer, the alpine flowers were in full bloom along the Eva Lake Trail in Mount Revelstoke National Park even in early September. Lupines come in a number of very similar species; this may be a silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus). If it is, don't eat it or feed it to your livestock. According to the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada web site, "Silky lupine (Lupinus sericeus) is a native herb of western Canada. This lupine has caused poisoning and death in cattle, goats, horses, and sheep. Sheep eat the plants more readily than do other animals and are therefore more commonly poisoned. Cattle also suffer from crooked calf disease, a teratogenic syndrome caused by maternal ingestion of certain lupines between day 40 and day 70 of gestation. The calves can suffer from arthrogryposis, scoliosis, and other deformities. Humans are also at risk from lupine toxins. In one case in California, a child was born with limb deformities. The family raised milk goats that had also given birth to kids with deformed limbs, and a dog gave birth to deformed pups. All had ingested the goat''s milk during pregnancy. Anagyrine in a local lupine species was believed to cause the problem. Tests showed that lactating goats that ingest lupine seeds pass anagyrine in the milk. Edible lupine seeds are being marketed in health food stores. In Edmonton (Smith 1987), a woman suffered mild dizziness and incoordination after ingesting the seeds. She did not follow specific instructions to soak and boil the seeds in several changes of water, which is necessary to remove the toxins."

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