Common Name
Day blooming jasmine, night blooming jasmine, Cestrum, Day blooming jessamine
Botanic Name
Cestrum L.
Plant Family
Tropical and subtropical areas.
Animals Affected
Horses, cattle, sheep. goats, pigs, chickens
Cestrum diurnum - day blooming jasmine
Toxic Principle
All plant parts of Cestrum species are toxic, especially the berries. Day blooming jasmine (Cestrum diurnum) contains a glycoside of 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol that is hydrolyzed in the digestive tract to active vitamin D3. Increased levels of vitamin D3 result in the excessive accumulation of calcium in the tissues. Other species of Cestrum contain hepatotoxins that cause acute hepatic necrosis and liver failure. Cestrum diurnum when ingested by cattle, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, and poultry causes dystrophic calcification in multiple tissues due to the excessive effects of vitamin D3. As a result of the excessive accumulation of calcium, affected animals develop calcification of the tendons, ligaments, and arteries, and as a result, develop a chronic wasting disease characterized by weight loss, stiffness, reluctance to move, and eventually recumbency. Debilitated animals eventually die. The species of Cestrum that are hepatotoxic contain glycosides such as a carboxyparquin that is a potent hepatotoxin with similarities to carboxyactractiloside found in cockleburs (Xanthium species). Cattle, sheep, goats and other species eating these plants are susceptible to the hepatotoxins. Affected animals develop central lobular necrosis of the liver, and renal tubular necrosis. Other glycoalkaloids and cardenolides present in Cestrum species may play a role in the toxicity of the plants.
There are about 200 species in the genus Cestrum which are native to tropical and subtropical America, and the Caribbean islands. Ranging from sprawling shrubs to small shrubby trees, Cestrum species are mostly evergreen, but can be deciduous in temperate climates. The stems are erect, spreading, and branched. The leaves are lanceolate, elliptic or oval, with entire margins and a strong pungent smell when crushed. Clusters of flowers are produced terminally or in leaf axils. Flowers may be fragrant or not; the calyx having 5 teeth or lobes and the corollas with 5 lobes, are yellow, red, white or greenish in color depending on the species. The fruits are small berries that are initially green, and ripen to a white, red, black, violet-brown color depending on the species. A variety of hybrids have been developed that are popular in tropical areas. Day blooming jasmine, wild jasmine, Chinese ink-berry – Cestrum diurnum Night blooming jasmine, poison berry – C. nocturnum Orange cestrum – C. aurantiacum Red cestrum – C. fasciculatum Green cestrum, willow-leaved jasmine – C. parqui
Animals that have consumed the calcinogenic Cestrum diurnum over a period of weeks, develop a syndrome of chronic weight loss, stiffness, reluctance to move, lameness, and eventually become recumbent. Affected animals have elevated blood calcium levels. Death results from progressive calcification of the soft tissues of the body. Horses are often the most noticeably affected.
There is no specific treatment for either form of Cestrum poisoning. A good quality diet should be provided and appropriate symptomatic treatment provided as necessary.
Hepatic System
Animals consuming the non-calcinogenic Cestrum species (all Cestrum species except Cestrum diurnum) develop signs of liver failure, including weight loss, depression, icterus and hepatic encephalopathy. Liver enzymes are typically elevated reflecting the acute hepatic necrosis.
Diagnostic Tests
High levels of blood calcium and vitamin D3 are indicative of calcinogenic plant toxicity
Radiographs of the tissues may reveal abnormal calcification of soft tissues.
Special Notes
In tropical and sub tropical areas, members of the genus Cestrum are frequently grown as garden plants, because of their showy flowers, and in the case of Cestrum nocturnum its strong, but pleasant nighttime fragrance. Because Cestrum species are grown as ornamentals, it is important to avoid poisoning horses and other livestock species through the planting of Cestrum in or around livestock enclosures, or by disposing of plant prunings where they are accessible to animals.
Cestrum nocturnum - night blooming jasmine