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What is locoweed?

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Quick Answer

Locoweed is a perennial herb found in primarily dry, alkaline soils in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains. As many as 300 different species of locoweed are recognized in North America, with most being toxic to livestock like horses and cows.

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Locoweed gets its name from the Spanish word loco, which means crazy or abnormal. The toxic varieties of the plant cause severe neurological damage in the animals that consume it. Symptoms of intoxication include depression, lethargy, loss of appetite and odd behavior, such as running into objects and wandering around. In addition to the mental effects, animals poisoned with locoweed suffer from emaciation, miscarriages and heart failure. Horses, cattle, goats and sheep are the most susceptible to locoweed intoxication.

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