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African Wonder Tree

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Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally moderate to severe, life-threatening

Common signs to watch for:

  • Inappetance
  • Drooling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Severe bloody diarrhea
  • Abdominal straining
  • Weakness
  • Trembling
  • Hypotension (drop in blood pressure)
  • Sudden collapse
  • Death

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The African Wonder tree or Ricinus communis is part of the castor bean family, and contains the highly toxic compound ricin. Ricin is a glycoprotein that prevents protein synthesis; when ingested, clinical signs of inappetance, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe bloody diarrhea, abdominal straining, weakness, trembling, hypotension (drop in blood pressure), and sudden collapse may be seen. This plant has a very narrow margin of safety; only a small amount ingested can result in severe poisoning. Death can occur with even a very small ingestion of the beans.

Poison type: Plants

Alternate names: Ricin, castor bean, Euphorbiaceae, spurge family