Common Name
Tree tobacco
Botanic Name
Nicotiana glauca
Plant Family
Solanaceae (Nightshade family)
Dry, washes, canyons and waste areas below 3000 feet altitude.
Animals Affected
All animals.
Toxic Principle
Nicotine, anabasine and many other alkaloids are present in all species of Nicotiana. Nicotine is poisonous to all animals, but ruminants are more tolerant of the alkaloid than are simple stomached animals. Nicotine is readily absorbed through the digestive and respiratory tracts and has a rapid effect on the animals nervous system frequently causing muscle tremors, excitement, ataxia, rapid heart and respiratory rates and coma. Death results from respiratory paralysis. Tobacco also contains the alkaloid, anabasine, that is teratogenic to pigs, lambs and calves. Quantitatively, anabasine forms 99% of the alkaloid content of N. glauca, and has been shown to produce severe skeletal deformities in lambs and calves born to dams that consumed the plant during the 30-60th day of gestation.
Perennial, branching, shrub or small tree to 20 feet in height. Leaves are bluish-green, long stalked, oval and smooth up to 7 inches long. Flowers are yellow, five toothed, tubular, produced in terminal, pendulous clusters. Other species of Nicotiana known to be toxic include: N. trigonophylla - desert tobacco N. tabacum - cultivated tobacco N. attenuata - wild or coyote tabacco
Excessive salivation, colic and diarrhea.
Muscle tremors and incoordination due the toxic effects of nicotine. Various congenital skeletal deformities can be attributed to the teratogenic effects of anabasine.
Congenital Defects
Tobacco, when consumed between 30-60 days of pregnancy causes severe bony deformity (arthrogryposis) of the limbs and vertebrae. Calves, lambs and piglets are born with varying degrees of crooked legs due to malformation of the bones of the carpal, fetlock and pastern joints. Abnormal spinal curvature (scoliosis) and twisted necks (torticollis) may also occur.
The prognosis in nicotine poisoning is poor because of the profound, rapid paralysis of the nervous system. If the animal survives the first 3-4 hours of poisoning, it will likely recover. Artificial respiration and oxygen therapy should be used where possible. Gastric lavage in early cases may help in the removal of the toxin. Stimulants such as amphetamine and atropine may have benefit for nicotine poisoning.
Nervous System
Nicotine initially has a stimulating and then a curare like effect paralyzing the muscles of respiration and the cardiovascular system.
Calves, lambs, piglets born with skeletal deformities, and a history of the pregnant animals having the opportunity to graze Nicotiana species in early pregnancy.
Special Notes
Crooked calf disease is also associated with lupine (Lupinus spp) and poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) poisoning.
tree tobacco
desert tobacco