Growers asked to be on lookout for jimsonweed

Although growers and agronomists recently have been urged to be on the lookout for jimsonweed, experts said any fears about the plant leading to toxicity in canola oil are unfounded.

“While jimsonweed itself can be poisonous, the heating process in canola oil and meal processing denatures toxic alkaloids, so there isn’t a health concern in processed canola products,” Curtis Rempel, vice president of crop production and innovation at the Canola Council of Canada (CCC), said. “It’s also important to remember that it’s the dose that makes the poison, and the high LD50 of scopolamine, the major toxic alkaloid in jimsonweed, even further supports the fact that this weed isn’t a concern in canola oil or meal.”

Rempel said the ingestion of the actual jimsonweed plant or seeds by humans or other animals is a health concern, as all parts of the plant contain the toxic alkaloid.

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), also known as devil’s trumpet, is a naturalized annual herb common in southern Canada.

“It thrives in hot, dry climates and is a common ornamental in parts the prairies and Eastern Canada, and grows all over the U.S.,” Rempel said.

Jimsonweed is on the list of 21 prohibited noxious weeds on the federal weed seeds order. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has proposed re-classification from prohibited to primary as the plant is found in so many parts of Canada.

“According to provincial weed specialists in Alberta, as of Sept. 1 this weed has been limited to three fields of canola and all of these growers are working with their provincial departments and the CFIA on an eradication strategy,” Rempel said.

Officials from Manitoba Agriculture Food and Rural Development recently noted several sightings of the plant in the province and have sent samples to their labs for identification.

“We are currently focusing on fact gathering and analysis on the weed’s prevalence and biology, and collaborating throughout the canola value chain to determine best management practices,” Rempel said. “To help, we are asking growers and agronomists to continue to keep an eye out for this weed during harvest as early detection is an important step in management.”

Anyone who suspects they have located jimsonweed is asked to contact a provincial weed specialist or CCC agronomists.

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Canola Council of Canada

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