Llama Linda Ranch
Alpacas and Llamas
Linda Hayes   60 Meadow View Lane   Glenwood Springs, CO 81601    970.379.4576   hayestees@sopris.net

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Poisonous Plants

By Ouijan Vinson

We are all pretty much aware of the dangers of oleanders and azaleas. Don't let your animals near them! But there are other pretty yellow flowering plants that can grow in your pastures that can be just as lethal.

In late fall, these plants known as Senecio species, begin to germinate and grow. Because the pasture grass is dying out, these are juicy green plants the llamas like to eat. It doesn't matter that they are also fed plenty of hay and grain. These plants are poisonous, and may cause irreparable liver damage. Depending on the quantity consumed and other stress factors (lactation and heat), the animal may die months after consuming the weed. Symptoms include anorexia, depression, weight loss, standing apart from other animals, or aggression.


There are four general species found in Texas, with common names of "Groundsel", "Ragwort" and "Butterweed". They have clusters of yellow flowers at the top of the stem, generally blooming in February and March. You should consult with your local veterinarian and County Ag Agent, but you can spray your pastures with Grazon P + D or 2,4-D to kill the weed. This should be done just after the first frost. Even though you should be able to graze the pasture after spraying, this chemical enhances the palatability of the weed. It may take three to four weeks for the weeds to die so you may want to keep the llamas off the pasture for at least two weeks or until the weeds die. Hand pulling between sprayings will also be effective.

Llama LindaIf you want more information about toxic plants, Texas A&M has a publication available for $20 "Toxic Plants of Texas".

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