A native poisonous weed commonly found in Delta County is currently up and in the pre-blooming stage.
Zigadenus venenosus, commonly called death camas or meadow deathcamas, is a flowering plant in the genus Zigadenus belonging to the Melanthiaceae.
It grows up to 70 cm tall with long, basal, grass-like leaves. The bulbs are oval and look like onions but do not smell like onions. The flowers are cream colored or white and grow in pointed clusters, flowering between April and July.
Death camas occurs in some parts of western North America and can be easily confused with edible onions of genus Allium. They tend to grow in dry meadows and on dry hillsides as well as sagebrush slopes and mountain forests.
All parts of the plant are poisonous. It is dangerous for humans as well as livestock, though some poisoned by it have been treated. Alkaloids are responsible for the plants being poisonous and it's said eating rich fish or beef broth, grease, or butter may counteract the poison. The Meadow Deathcamas Toxicoscordion venenosum (called altsíniitsoh, literally "big mariposa lily") was used by the Navajo for treatment of coyote bites. Control in the early growth stages (pre-bloom) can be achieved with the herbicide 24D. Digging the entire plant and removing it from grazing areas is effective.
More information about death camas and other poisonous weeds in Delta County can be found at www.deltacounty.com. Press the Weed Program tab under Services.blog comments powered by Disqus