Low larkspur (Delphinium bicolor)

Larkspur Strikes Again !!!

Kinda’ puts the whole “Canadian wolves are a threat to our ‘livelihood’” argument into perspective:

30 cows die in S. Idaho after eating larkspurIdaho Statesman via Associated Press

Perhaps they will spend millions of tax-payer’s dollars to commission a federal agency to crop-dust our public lands with herbicide such that this “threat” to the Livestock custom and culture can be eradicated.

Landscape covered in threatening, monstrous larkspur (of the deep, dark night) Photograph © Katie Fite 2008

'Larkspur Rebellion'

Elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, pronghorn, upland game birds, small nongame birds, and small mammals all eat Low larkspur. However, for reasons not entirely known, its alkaloid methyllycaconitine can cause motor paralysis in cattle (and humans) – leading to death from asphyxiation. Much effort has been spent trying to breed the vulnerability out of cattle – or at least get them to stop eating it. (Sourced Info via Idaho Native Plant Society)

Visit AGRO’s ‘Cattle Losses’ page to learn the proportion of cattle killed by predators versus the number killed by respiratory, digestive, poison, and other problems.

Photograph © Katie Fite 2008

Photograph © Katie Fite 2008

Photograph © Katie Fite 2008



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  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    The well known presence of plants poisonous to livestock is, it should be noted, one of the justifications often given for what is the essentially the free grazing of cattle on our public lands.

  2. inthefurwest Avatar

    i guess i am confused, are they also counting the livestock that are raised in the u.s. where low larkspur is not indigenousness ?? i am just not sure their are 104.5 million cows all on low larkspur range

    1. Brian Ertz Avatar

      there are many plants that are poisonous to livestock. The DoA figures represent all losses to poisonous plants.

  3. Taz Alago Avatar
    Taz Alago

    The range in NE Oregon where cows and wolves are intermixed has abundant low larkspur. I wonder if this is the unmentioned cause of the supposed 15-20 losses claimed by a rancher last year and blamed, of course, on the Imnaha pack.

  4. Pronghorn Avatar

    Another 8-12 cattle dead on the Gallatin (today’s Missoulian)–this time tall mountain larkspur is the perp. Looks like Wildlife Services needs a sister agency, Botanical Services. I’m thinking that tall mtn larkspur is that Canadian species that was transplanted here by flowering plant extremists.

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Brian Ertz