The apricot tree (Prunus armeniaca
) is a small well-known tree that is grown worldwide for cultivation of its fleshy, stone fruits--the apricot. P. armeniaca
develops pink to white colored blossoms in the spring, prior to leaves appearing. The fruits ripen towards the end of July to mid-August.
Apricot Toxic Components
Apricot tree parts contain two main cyanogenic glycosides, prunasin in the vegetative organs (leaves, flowers, roots, bark, twigs) and amygdalin exclusively in seeds or pits. Apricot trees usually only contain small amounts of these compounds, so unless horses consume an excessive amount of the plant parts, cyanide poisoning is highly unlikely. However, young, rapidly growing leaf tissue and seeds tend to contain increased amounts of cyanogenic glycosides. Toxicity levels also increase during periods of frost, drought, application of 2,4-D herbicides, nitrate fertilization, low phosphorous soil levels, and cool moist growing conditions. As cyanide release requires hydrolysis in the gastrointestinal tract, features of poisoning may be delayed for a few hours.