Canadian farmers told to take care in handling jimsonweed

Following a recent warning to Canadian farmers to be on the lookout for jimsonweed, Canola Council of Canada Vice President of Crop Production and Innovation Curtis Rempel said precautions should be taken when handling the plant.

Growers should use gloves when handling the weed, Rempel told Crop Protection News. 

"Double bag the weed to remove from (the) field," he said. "Call a Canola Council of Canada agronomist or provincial weed specialist for identification and if you want assistance with handling the plant"

Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), also known as devil’s trumpet, is a naturalized annual herb common in parts of Canada as well as the entire U.S. When ingested, the alkaloids in the plant and seeds can cause hallucinations and illness in humans and animals. 

In September, weed specialists in Alberta found jimsonweed in three canola fields, prompting the Canola Council to reassure the public that there is no danger from the plant leading to toxicity in processed canola oil.

For now, the weed is currently confined to certain fields in Alberta. Suspected sightings also have been reported in Manitoba, but for the most part the weed's spread has been limited. 

“Actively managing the control of the weed at this initial stage will aid in confining and limiting impact of the weed," Rempel said. "That is why we are asking farmers to be vigilant in scouting for the weed, so that we can assist with weed management."

Jimsonweed thrives in hot, dry climates. 

“These environmental conditions were present in parts of the prairies this year, and this factors into management guidelines as well,” Rempel said.

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Canola Council of Canada

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