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toxic plants
Seed pods

Lanceleaf Salvia
(Salvia reflexa)

Lanceleaf salvia, also called Rocky Mountain sage, grows to about 2 feet tall, attaining a multi-stemmed, bushy stature. The square stems branch opposite each other at an upward angle. The narrow, lance-shaped leaves up to 2 inches long are also arranged opposite each other on short stems. Asymmetrical, blue flowers grow on spikes in whorls of two or three.

Distribution and habitat
These plants are found in thewestern two-thirds of Texas. Theygrow in dry fields, gravel-clayflats, slopes and rocky soils where there is little competition.
Regions: 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Toxic agent
The toxic agent is unknown. Reported cases of poisonings in the United States are limited to cattle and horses that consumed contaminated hay. Experimental feeding trials have shown that sheep are also susceptible. Although the plant has been proven toxic, it is not known how much of the plant material must be eaten to cause toxicity. In one confirmed case, alfalfa hay contained about 10 percent lanceleaf salvia.

Livestock signs
Salvia poisoning is not common, and only general clinical signs are reported:

  • Muscular weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic

Animals that die after consuming contaminated hay show post-mortem evidence of gastrointestinal inflammation and liver necrosis.

Integrated management strategies
There are no documented reports of this plant causing poisoning under range or pasture conditions, although it has been susected.
Nevertheless, it has been proven toxic when consumed as a contaminant in hay and should therefore be considered potentially toxic to grazing animals. Look for this plant in hay as well as in hay fields before mowing.

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Send Comments to: Dr. Charles Hart, Dr. Bruce Carpenter, Dr. John Reagor , or Dr. Allan McGinty.

This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under a Southern Region IPM Program special project number 97-EPMP-1-0153.