‘Stinking nightshade’ a deadly menace

Noxious weed is poisonous to livestock and humans

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In 2014, black henbane was spotted in Wheatland, Starland and Kneehill counties, and as far north as Lesser Slave River. All parts of this noxious weed are poisonous to livestock and humans. Poisoning can result in impaired vision, convulsions, coma, and death from heart or respiratory failure.

Although known as ‘stinking nightshade,’ it does not tolerate shade and is commonly found in roadside ditches, field edges and disturbed sites. Seeds are found in a hairy capsule and are also poisonous. The plant can produce up to half a million seeds in a season, so contact local authorities if you find black henbane.

This weed’s leaves are slightly sticky, it has an offensive odour, and a toothed margin. The flower is bell shaped, yellowish, and has purple veins. The plant itself can grow up to one metre tall. If you think you have spotted this plant, call your local Agricultural Fieldman or visit aaaf.ab.ca for more information.

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