Deathcamas (Zigadenus venenosus
) is a highly poisonous perennial herb found throughout most of the western United States. It is a member of the lily family, which includes Allium spp
(garlic, onions), fly poison, lily of the valley, and many other species. Z. venenosus
have a single, erect, unbranched, sparingly leafed stem; it is grass-like and has greenish or yellowish white flowers that arise from a bulb. Flowers occur in a cluster atop a central stack.
contains zygacine, a neurotoxic steroidal alkaloid. It is usually not actively eaten by horses, as they dislike the taste, however hungry horses that aren't provided with an alternative food source are at risk. Horses have an increased risk of ingestion of Z. venenosus
in the spring, as it is one of the first plants to emerge. Fresh leaves, stems, bulbs, and flowers of Z. venenosus
are poisonous, but the seeds are particularly deadly. The amount of toxins in Z. venenosus
varies depending on the season, climate, soils, and geographical location.