Rapeseed-Brassica napus L.-Poisonous plant


General poisoning notes:

Rapeseed (Brassica napus) meal is used as an additive to livestock feed, but toxicity occurs from glucosinolates and erucic acid, which form in the seeds. Canadian breeders have developed new cultivars called canola, which are low in these compounds (Cheeke and Schull 1985). See discussions under Brassica oleracea for more information on poisoning by Brassica species.


Scientific Name: Brassica napus L.
Vernacular name(s): rapeseed
Scientific family name: Cruciferae
Vernacular family name: mustard

Geographic Information

Alberta, British Columbia, Labrador, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon Territory.

Notes on Poisonous plant parts:

Rapeseed meal is used as an additive to feeds for livestock. The recent development of canola cultivars allows a much higher amount of rapeseed meal to be added to diets without toxic affects (Cheeke and Schull 1985).

Toxic parts:

Leaves, seeds.

Notes on Toxic plant chemicals:

See the notes under Brassica oleracea for a discussion on these chemicals, which are common to the genus Brassica.

Toxic plant chemicals:

S-methyl-L-cysteine sulfoxide (SMCO)
Chemical diagram(s) are courtesy of Ruth McDiarmid, Biochemistry Technician, Kamloops Range Station, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Kamploops, British Columbia, Canada.

Animals/Human Poisoning:

Note: When an animal is listed without additional information, the literature (as of 1993) contained no detailed explanation.



General symptoms of poisoning:

liver, congestion of
thyroid, enlarged
weight gain, reduced
Notes on poisoning:
Poultry exhibit growth depression and enlarged thyroid glands from ingesting too much rapeseed meal. Perosis, lowered egg production, and off-flavors in eggs also occur (Cheeke and Schull 1985).


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