Poisonous Weeds in the Columbia Valley and their Look-alikes

Farmers and ranchers have to be aware of threats to their livelihood and keep abreast of the latest means of reducing the impact of those threats.  Managing weeds and poisonous plants is an issue in the East Kootenays both on public and private lands.  Some of these plants are native species which may increase or decrease according to seasonal weather patterns or disturbances.  They are part of the native ecosystem and should be managed accordingly.

The poisonous plants described in this document are listed in descending order of their ability to cause illness/death if ingested.

Serious concern-If ingested in minimal amounts can poison livestock or humans resulting in death
Low concern– Locally present but does not seem to be an issue
Look-Alikes– Plants which have many of the same visual characteristics of the poisonous plants but are not poisonous
Potential Invaders– Non-native plants which are not known from this area but which could become established should they be introduced to favorable habitat.

Each species of concern also has photos and tips on identification, habitat preferences and and internet sources.
Current management practices being utilized to avoid livestock/interactions include:

  1. Varying the timing and duration of grazing to avoid populations of poisonous plants when they are most toxic
  2. Fencing out of riparian areas
  3. Identification of problem sites on private and public lands
  4. Provision of supplemental feed to ensure hungry livestock do not have to eat undesirable plants
  5. Monitoring of known sites for spread.


Read Full Report


Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partners