Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous?

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by perdurabo, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. perdurabo

    perdurabo New Member

    6
    Jul 13, 2010
    Ok, my property in southeastern Caldwell County TX is absolutely overrun with these weeds that have green wide leaves and in the fall make these little yellow berrys that look like yellow cherry tomatoes. From what research Ive done, these appear to be the Western Horsenettle, although my dad and grandpa always just called "goatweed". However the stuff thats growing on my property doesnt appear to have any spines on it like bull nettles... its pretty smooth, and I can pull it up with my bear hands without any sting or irritation so I'm not 100% sure on that ID, but all the pictures of the leaves and fruits look right.

    From various google searches I get conflicting reports as to whether horsenettle is actually poisonous to goats. According to this website, goats are immune to the poison in them, which would make sense based on my grandpa's name for the plant:

    http://www.mojavewma.org/horsenettle.php

    But other sites seem to indicate that goats either CAN be poisoned by it, or will avoid it. Well, whats the right answer? This stuff is EVERYWHERE and more or less impossible to eradicate without spraying and killing everything on my property... this is why I wanted goats in the first place, to keep the weeds down! So if i get goats can they eat this stuff safely or not? If they cant, theres no point in having goats at all as this is the primary weed on my property besides mesquite and yaupon.
     
  2. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Looking at the info on the page, it says that sheep are tolerant and goats are unaffected by the toxins, there are a surprising number of toxic plants that don't affect goats due to their high metabolism...though it is best to be sure about them first.
     

  3. perdurabo

    perdurabo New Member

    6
    Jul 13, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Some more research has yielded more info, i think that this stuff is indeed "silverleaf nightshade", but according to the Texas Agrilife extension it is a slightly different plant that Western Horsenettle:

    http://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants/br ... lantID=109

    They claim that "The plant has poor forage value for livestock and wildlife and can be poisonous to livestock." That doesn't tell me much. I'm pretty sure that the berries are more poisonous than the leaves, so if i got the goats before the berries came out that theyd eat it all down before they got too bad. Still I'd like to hear definitively about this from someone with direct experience.
     
  4. zoomom

    zoomom New Member

    142
    Feb 26, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    I had this plant show up when i planted some roses, probably came from the nursery they were at, but it does have spines, are you sure your id is correct? I don't know about flowers, i don't let them get that big.

    [​IMG]


    I did read that it was poisonous, so i wouldn't take a chance. On the other hand, will goats eat anything that is poisonous to them? I thought they were picky eaters.

    P.S. It is supposed to have purple flowers
     
  5. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    I have some of this on my property. It killed two of my neighbor's horses before they figured out what was killing them. I have read that goats aren't harmed by it, but I pull it out of their spaces. When it was in one pen they were in, they didn't eat it until every last scrap of anything else was gone. I think they normally won't eat it. It is very difficult to get rid of, as it spreads from the roots underground.

    Jan
     
  6. perdurabo

    perdurabo New Member

    6
    Jul 13, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Aha, even more info:

    http://essmextension.tamu.edu/plants/to ... lantID=110

    "This plant has reportedly poisoned horses, sheep, goats, cattle and humans. However, sheep and goats are more resistant than cattle, and in controlled experiments, goats were not poisoned at all. Its toxic agent is solanine. The leaves and fruit are toxic at all stages of maturity; the highest concentration is in ripe fruits. In some instances, an animal can be poisoned by eating 0.1 to 0.3 percent of its weight in silverleaf nightshade."

    "Because silverleaf nightshade is relatively unpalatable, problems usually occur after serious overgrazing or if nightshade is baled up with hay. Do not feed livestock from the ground where many ripe nightshade fruits are available."

    Hmm, sounds better but I'd still like more info from someone with direct experience.
     
  7. lissablack

    lissablack New Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    What I have is silverleaf nightshade. Yaupon sounds like it might be good food for goats, don't know about mesquite. I had never heard of yaupon, it has caffeine.

    Jan
     
  8. Epona142

    Epona142 The farm that Hope began

    May 25, 2008
    Madisonville, TX
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    I have that in one area. The goats avoid it, won't touch it for anything. Which in my mind says its not good for them really
     
  9. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    356
    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Yaupon is fine for goats. Mine love it. They rarely touch mesquite. Mostly in winter if there are some small branches on the mesquite they'll eat the tips of those. Occasionally they'll eat dry leaves. It is really not the best for them and they won't eat it in the green stage unless starving.

    Can you lime your property? Sometimes that is what it needs to control weeds.

    I have that same plant and the goats don't seem to eat it.
     
  10. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    My property is overrun with Silverleaf. We call them purple tops around here. There is really in my experience no way to get rid of them. They spread from seeds, roots you name it. I have poisoned, pulled, burned and nothing controls them. The best I can do is weed whack them before they make their berries. Our goats nibble on them a bit when the plants are small and soft without any apparent ill effects, they leave the bigger plants alone. I could see where poorly fed goats might eat them and get into trouble. Apparently they appeal to horses more than to goats and sheep as I know a couple of people who have had sick horses from them.
    Regarding mesquite, I have several in my pasture. The goats nibble on the bark and leaves a bit, but LOVE the beans. They actually know when the wind blows in the fall and winter that dry beans will fall from the trees, so they'll go out there and wait for the beans to fall and try to beat each other to them! They are quite nutritious and I don't believe the DRY beans cause any problems in small portions. I do rake up heavy bean falls to keep them from gorging on them as they're very fattening and who needs that.
    I grind dry beans into flour in my flour mill and add it to bread recipes. Very high in good sugars, fats and proteins, tasty too.
     
  11. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    356
    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    What kind of mill do you have that'll grind mesquite beans. I always read you need a hammermill.
     
  12. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Commercially ground mesquite flour is ground in hammer mills. I have an old old Magic Mill, made in Salt Lake City that has great big stones. I break up the beans in a big iron pot we have that used to be used for making chicharrones (pork cracklins). I use a sledge hammer and just pound the heck out of them first, then they'll fit thru the magic mill's feeder and it does a pretty good job of grinding them. I still have to sift out a fair bit of pulp but can usually get a pound or two of flour before I get bored with it. I only do it when it's been really dry and the beans haven't got a speck of moisture in them. The actual seeds are nearly hard as rocks, as I'm sure you know.
     
  13. elchivito

    elchivito Active Member

    635
    Apr 18, 2010
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    Just so you can impress your friends at those fancy goat breeder cocktail parties we all attend in our spare time, The Silver Leaf Nightshade belongs to the same family of plants as tomatoes, chiles, potatoes, eggplant and tobacco in addition to Deadly Nightshade or "Love Apple", what people sometimes refer to as Loco Weed, which is actually different. All nightshades are poisonous in one form or one time or another to varying degrees. I've had goats get the poops from eating old dry tomato vines that were stacked up to burn in the fall. It passed quickly but hit them pretty fast.
     
  14. DebMc

    DebMc Member

    845
    Dec 10, 2009
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    My goats love mesquite, the branches and the leaves. Whereas our sheep loved the seed pods, the goaties won't touch 'em. I only feed the thornless varieties of Mesquite and Palo Verde. At present, both are dropping loads of seed pods.

    Deb Mc
     
  15. Dreamchaser

    Dreamchaser New Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    Camp Verde, AZ
    Re: Western Horsenettle (Silverleaf nightshade).. Poisonous

    We have that silverleaf nightshade all over here in AZ. It grows in our yard and gardens. There are lots growing just outside the pasture. But none in the pasture. The goats have kept the pasture free of them, and we have not had any goats poisoned by them.