Group Title: Bulletin - University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station ; 376
Title: Tung tree (Aleurites fordi Hemsl.) foliage poisoning of cattle
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 Material Information
Title: Tung tree (Aleurites fordi Hemsl.) foliage poisoning of cattle
Series Title: Bulletin University of Florida. Agricultural Experiment Station
Physical Description: 8 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Sanders, D. A ( Dorsey Addren )
Emmel, M. W ( Mark Wirth ), b. 1895
Swanson, Leonard E., b. 1898
Publisher: University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1942
Subject: Tung tree -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Cattle -- Diseases -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Bibliography: p. 8.
Statement of Responsibility: by D.A. Sanders, M.W. Emmel, L.E. Swanson.
General Note: Cover title.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00026416
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000925178
oclc - 18230635
notis - AEN5823

Full Text


The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source

site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.

Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
of Florida

September, 1942


Aleurites Fordi Hemsl.



Fig. 1.-Tung tree foliage poisoning. Note sternal recumbency and
dejected, emaciated appearance.


Single copies free to Florida residents on request to

Bulletin 376

John J. Tigert, M.A., LL.D., President of the
Wilmon Newell, D.Sc., Director3
Harold Mowry, M.S.A., Asso. Director
L. O. Gratz, Ph.D., Asst. Dir., Research
W. M. Fifield, M.S., Asst. Dir., Admin.4
J. Francis Cooper, M.S.A., Editor3
Clyde Beale, A.B.J., Assistant Editor3
Jefferson Thomas, Assistant Editor3
Ida Keeling Cresap, Librarian
Ruby Newhall, Administrative Manager3
K. H. Graham, Business Manager'
Rachel McQuarrie, Accountant3

W. E. Stokes, M.S., Agronomist'
W. A. Leukel, Ph.D., Agronomist3
Fred H. Hull, Ph.D., Agronomist
G. E. Ritchey, M.S., Associate"'
W. A. Carver, Ph.D., Associate
Roy E. Blaser, M.S., Associate
G. B. Killinger, Ph.D., Associate
John P. Camp, M.S., Assistant
Fred A. Clark, B.S.A., Assistant
A. L. Shealy, D.V.M., An. Industrialist' 3
R. B. Becker, Ph.D., Dairy Husbandman3
E. L. Fouts, Ph.D., Dairy Technologist3
D. A. Sanders, D.V.M., Veterinarian
M. W. Emmel, D.V.M., Veterinarian3
L. E. Swanson, D.V.M., Parasitologist
N. R. Mehrhof, M.Agr., Poultry Husb.3
T. R. Freeman, Ph.D., Asso. in Dairy Mfg.
R. S. Glascock, Ph.D., Asso. An. Husb.
D. J. Smith, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.3
P. T. Dix Arnold, M.S.A., Asst. Dairy Husb.3
L. L. Rusoff, Ph.D., Asst. in An. Nutrition3
L. E. Mull, M.S., Asst. in Dairy Tech.
O. K. Moore, M.S., Asst. Poultry Husb.
C. V. Noble, Ph.D., Agr. Economist' 3
Zach Savage, M.S.A., Associate
A. H. Spurlock, M.S.A., Associate
Max E. Brunk, M.S., Assistant
Ouida D. Abbott, Ph.D., Home Econ.1
Ruth 0. Townsend, R.N., Assistant
R. B. French, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
J. R. Watson, A.M., Entomologist1
A. N. Tissot, Ph.D., Associate
H. E. Bratley, M.S.A., Assistant
G. H. Blackmon, M.S.A., Horticulturist'
A. L. Stahl, Ph.D., Associate
F. S. Jamison, Ph.D., Truck Hort.
R. J. Wilmot, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
R. D. Dickey, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.
J. Carlton Cain, B.S.A.. Asst. Hort.1
Victor F. Nettles, M.S.A., Asst. Hort.'*
Byron E. Janes, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
F. S. Lagassee, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.?
H. M. Sell, Ph.D., Asso. Hort.'
W. B. Tisdale, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist' 3
George F. Weber, Ph.D., Plant Path.3
Phares Decker, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist
Erdman West, M.S.. Mycologist
Lillian E. Araold, M.S.. Asst. Botanist
R. V. Allison, Ph.D., Chemist' 3
Gaylord M. Volk, M.S., Chemist
F. B. Smith, Ph.D., Microbiologist3
C. E. Bell, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
J. Russell Henderson, M.S.A., Associate3
L. H. Rogers, Ph.D., Asso. Biochemist4
Richard A. Carrigan, B.S., Asso. Chemist
H. W. Winsor, B.S.A., Assistant Chemist
Geo. D. Thornton, M.S., Asst. Chemist
Thos. Whitehead, Jr., M.S.A.. Asst.
R. E. Caldwell, M.S.A., Soil Surveyor
Olaf C. Olson, B.S., Soil Surveyor

H. P. Adair, Chairman, Jacksonville
R. H. Gore. Fort Lauderdale
N. B. Jordan, Quincy
T. T. Scott, Live Oak
Thos. W. Bryant, Lakeland
J. T. Diamond Secretary, Tallahassee

J. D. Warner, M.S., Agronomist in Charge
R. R. Kincaid, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Pathologist
R. W. Wallace, B.S., Asso. Agronomist
J. H. Wallance, M.A., Asso. Agronomist
Elliott Whitehurst, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.4
W. C. McCormick, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.
Jesse Reeves, Asst. Agron., Tobacco
W. H. Chapman, M.S., Asst. Agron.'
A. F. Camp, Ph.D., Horticulturist in Charge
V. C. Jamison, Ph.D., Soils Chemist
B. R. Fudge, Ph.D., Associate Chemist
W. L. Thompson, B.S., Associate Ento.
F. F. Cowart, Ph.D., Asso. Horticulturist
W. W. Lawless, B.S., Asst. Horticulturist4
R. K. Voorhees, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
H. 0. Sterling, B.S., Asst. Hort.
T. W. Young, Ph.D., Asso. Hort., Coastal
J. R. Neller, Ph.D., Biochemist in Charge
J. W. Wilson, Sc.D., Entomologist
F. D. Stevens, B.S., Sugarcane Agron.
Thomas Bregger, Ph.D., Sugarcane
G. R. Townsend, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
R. W. Kidder, M.S., Asst. An. Husb.
W. T. Forsee, Ph.D., Asso. Chemist
B. S. Clayton, B.S.C.E., Drainage Eng.2
F. S. Andrews. Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.'
Roy R. Blair, Ph.D., Asst. Agron.
Geo. D. Ruehle, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge
S. J. Lynch, B.S.A., Asst. Horticulturist
E. M. Andersen, Ph.D., Asst. Hort.
W. F. Ward, M.S., Asst. An. Husb. in Charge'
W. G. Kirk, Ph.D., An. Husb. in Charge
E. M. Hodges, Ph.D., Asso. Agron.
Gilbert A. Tucker, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.4
Floyd Eubanks, B.S.A., Asst. An. Husb.

M. N. Walker, Ph.D., Plant Path. in Charge4
K. W. Loucks, M.S., Asst. Plant Path.
E. E. Hartwig, Ph.D., Asst. Agron. & Path.
Plant City
A. N. Brooks, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
A. H. Eddins, Ph.D., Plant Pathologist
E. N. McCubbin, Ph.D., Asso. Truck Hort.
S. 0. Hill, B.S., Entomologist2 4
A. M. Phillips, B.S., Asst. Entomologists
Jos. R. Beckenbach. Ph.D., Truck Hort. in
E. G. Kelsheimer, Ph.D., Entomologist
F. T. McLean, Ph.D., Horticulturist
David G. Kelbert, Asst. Plant Pathologist
R. W. Ruprecht, Ph.D., Chemist in Charge,
Celery Investigations
W. B. Shippy, Ph.D., Asso. Plant Path.
Jack Russell, M.S., Asst. Entomologist
E. S. Ellison, Meteorologist"

SHead of Department.
In cooperation with U. S.
3 Cooperative, other divisions, U. of F.
4On leave.

q;Ff If Imlirwn d"

Aleurites Fordi Hemsl.



Economic management of tung groves often requires that the
soil be utilized to provide income during the period when the
trees are coming into production or in those years when the
groves are unprofitable because of unfavorable climatic or other
conditions. Returns from the soil in addition to the nut crop
often are made possible by combined usage of the land. The
necessity of meeting these requirements without depleting soil
fertility has resulted in joint utilization of the land as a tung
grove and as a pasture. Under these circumstances livestock
have not been observed to eat the tung tree foliage or nuts, pre-
ferring to graze on native grasses or planted cover crops which
are present in the grove.
However, the nature of the cow is such that this animal will
eat any vegetation that may be somewhat unusual. Therefore,
the cow will eat tung tree cuttings or foliage that might be
thrown in a pasture or lot.

No record of tung tree foliage poisoning of livestock has been
found in the literature. It has been found, however, that the
residue remaining after extraction of oil from seed of the tung
oil tree is poisonous. Thus Newell (3)1 state that the tung oil
nuts contain a poisonous substance and must not be eaten and
that the pomace remaining after extraction of oil from the seed
is poisonous and should not be used in stock feeds. Feeding
trials carried out by Godden (1) with the extracted meal on
different classes of stock showed that the material had a harmful
effect on the mucous membrane of the intestines, with some evi-
dence of damage to the parenchyma of the liver and kidneys.
Sanders, Emmel and Henley2 found that tung seed meal is un-
palatable and poisonous when used as a supplemental feed for

Italic figures in parentheses refer to "Literature Cited" in the back
of this bulletin.
SUnpublished data.

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

During November 1941 attention was called to a fatal condi-
tion affecting a herd of 30 purebred Hereford and Aberdeen-
Angus cattle which was confined in a 20-acre improved pasture.
Outstanding clinical symptoms which first developed in affected
animals consisted of a profuse watery diarrhea containing ad-
mixtures of blood, loss of appetite, atony of the rumen, listless-
ness, general weakness and an unthrifty appearance. Several
of the animals died within three to four days after onset of
symptoms. Animals which survived for a longer period con-
tinued to refuse feed, developed a seropurulent nasal discharge
and drooled saliva. Further symptoms consisted of dyspnea,
reddening and cracking of the skin of the muzzle, gritting of the
teeth, drooped ears, and progressive emaciation. Affected ani-
mals remained lying down most of the time and showed con-
siderable distress. Watery feces containing blood soiled the
vulva, tail and buttocks. Fourteen animals under observation
succumbed within four weeks.
The degree of emaciation depended upon the length of survival
of the animal after onset of clinical symptoms. The carcasses
of several affected animals, which were not autopsied for almost
24 hours after death, showed little tendency towards putrefac-
tion or gas formation. Similar postmortem lesions were observed
in all animals.
Marked irritation of the lower intestine was evident from the
partly everted, inflamed and hemorrhagic rectal mucosa of ani-
mals that succumbed. Upon opening the abdominal cavity the
venules of the intestines were noted to be in a state of passive
congestion. Marked ascites occurred in one animal. The most
excessive and pronounced macroscopic lesion observed at autopsy
was a severe inflammation of the mucous membrane of the
gastrointestinal tract which was accompanied by hemorrhage,
edema and necrotic erosions. Irritation of the mucous mem-
brane was more pronounced on elevations of the longitudinal
folds of the small intestines. Petechial hemorrhages of the
mucous membrane and of the subserous tissues of the walls of
the small intestine were common. The extensive inflammatory
reaction of the elevated folds of the mucous membrane of the
large intestine presented a mosaic pattern. This mosaic pattern
in the mucosa was in contrast to the less severe reaction of
intervening somewhat protected areas.

Tung Tree Foliage Poisoning of Cattle

The liver was enlarged, dark in color and presented a picture
of passive congestion. The gallbladder was enlarged and con-
tained thick viscid bile. The kidneys and spleen showed evidence
of passive congestion. Petechial hemorrhages occurred beneath
the surface of the spleen. Areas of emphysema occurred in the
lung tissues.
The symptoms and lesions presented by animals in the affected
herd resembled those observed in cases of arsenical poisoning.
Close observations on the pasture were made in an effort to
ascertain the cause of death of the animals. This examination
resulted in detection of heavily foliated nursery stock of the
tung tree, Aleurites fordi Hemsl., which had been hauled into
and discarded in the pasture a week or 10 days previously. It
was evident that the cattle had consumed portions of the foliage.
This finding immediately aroused suspicion as to the cause of
death of the cattle. The presence of the castor bean plant,
Ricinus communis L., growing in the pasture also was noted.
Castor beans contain the active principle ricin (2). The possi-
bility of poisoning from this plant was investigated as indicated

Experiment 1.-A test was conducted to ascertain if the cas-
tor bean plant, R. commnznis, was capable of producing symptoms
and lesions similar to those observed in the affected herd. Five
pounds of green castor bean leaves, leaf stems and partly ripened
seed were ground finely and fed to a 500-pound heifer. The
proportion of leaves, leaf stems and seed was such as would
probably be consumed should the animal eat this material under
natural conditions. On the second day following this feeding
trial the castor bean plant was noted to have produced a purga-
tive effect on the animal. No evidence of poisoning developed
in this animal during a 30-day period of observation. It was
concluded that the castor bean plant was not responsible for
the losses which occurred in this herd.

Having eliminated the castor bean plant as being responsible
for the losses, the next problem for consideration was the pos-
sible toxicity of tung tree foliage for cattle.
Experiment 2.-A test was conducted to ascertain if leaves
remaining on the discarded tung trees in the pasture were toxic

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

for cattle. One and one-fourth pounds of wilted and moist dead
leaves were selected from available material remaining in the
lower layers of the pile of nursery stock discarded in the cattle
pasture. The leaves were finely ground, suspended in water,
and administered as a drench to a 300-pound heifer. On the
third day following this drench the experimental animal devel-
oped a profuse, blood streaked, watery diarrhea. These symp-
toms were accompanied by loss of appetite, unthriftiness, listless-
ness and dejected appearance. Symptoms of profuse diarrhea
persisted for five days, after which the animal showed slow
Results of this test strongly suggested that foliage of the tung
tree, A. fordi, was responsible for the heavy losses incurred in
the beef cattle herd.
Experiment 3.-Results obtained in the preceding test made
it desirable to determine the possible toxic effect on cattle of
fresh green or slightly wilted tung tree leaves. For this purpose
one and three-fourths pounds of green leaves were selected from
a tree in vigorous growth. After collection, the leaves were
taken to the laboratory, where they were ground finely. The
finely ground leaves were suspended in water and administered
immediately as a drench to a grade Hereford yearling heifer
weighing approximately 500 pounds. On the third day follow-
ing this dosage the experimental animal showed evidence of a
profuse diarrhea. The presence of blood extravasations in the
excrement became apparent on the second day following the
initial symptoms of diarrhea. The animal refused to eat, be-
came greatly emaciated and exhibited typical clinical symptoms
similar to those in animals which had been under observation
in the affected herd. Because of the critical condition of the
experimental animal it was autopsied on the seventh day follow-
ing administration of the tung leaves. Postmortem examination
showed the great parenchymatous organs of the abdominal cav-
ity to be in a state of passive congestion. Severe lesions of
gastroenteritis were present, associated with hemorrhage, edema
and necrosis of the mucous membranes. The inflammation of
the mucous membrane of the caecum presented the typical
mosaic pattern that had been observed upon autopsy of the cases
which occurred under natural conditions.
Results of this test show that foliage of the tung plant is
poisonous for cattle.

Tung Tree Foliage Poisoning of Cattle

Experiment 4.-As stated previously, the beef cattle had eaten
foliage of tung trees that had been discarded in the pasture. It
was desired to make further observations on this point, using
both wilted or partly cured and freshly cut foliage.
Bundles of tung tree foliage representing both young and
mature plants were obtained and placed in a shed to cure for
several days. Palatability tests were made by placing this ma-
terial in small piles in a pasture where 20 adult native beef
cattle were grazing on a luxuriant growth of improved perma-
nent pasture grass. Small piles of green foliage also were placed
in the pasture. A portion of the cured foliage was sprinkled
with water. An attendant was assigned to make observations
and notes on the number of cows which showed interest in eat-
ing the foliage. It was the intention to drive the animals away
from the material before they consumed sufficient quantities
to be harmful.
Eighteen animals of this herd showed a distinct interest in
the sprinkled cured leaves. Ten individuals were driven away
from the unsprinkled leaves while eight cows had to be driven
away from the fresh leaves. The attendant reported many of
the animals were persistent in their intention to eat tung tree
foliage. One cow was allowed to consume a larger quantity
of tung tree foliage than the others. On the fifth day following
exposure this animal showed definite symptoms of poisoning.
By the tenth day there had developed symptoms of severe hemor-
rhagic gastroenteritis. This cow died 20 days following the
initial exposure. Postmortem examination showed lesions typi-
cal of those cases which had died in the purebred beef cattle
herd and of those animals which had received tung tree foliage
as a drench. The foetus in this cow had died several days previ-
ously and undergone extensive emphysematous putrefaction.
Results of this experiment show that a small quantity of tung
tree foliage is highly toxic and fatal to cattle.

The microscopic pathology of tung foliage poisoning in cattle
was obtained by preparing sections of organs from experimental
and naturally occurring cases. Histopathological lesions were
similar in all animals. The surface and glandular epithelium
of the intestines and abomasum and the smooth muscle of the
spleen and intestines showed presence of granular degeneration.
Marked congestion occurred of the spleen, liver and kidneys,

Florida Agricultural Experiment Station

together with granular degeneration of the parenchymatous cells
of the liver and kidneys. Necrotic foci occurred in the alveolar
walls of the lung tissues, in the tubular epithelium of the kid-
neys, parenchymatous cells of the liver, in the smooth muscle
of the villi, and submucosa of the intestines.

Fourteen purebred Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cattle
among a herd of 30 animals died as a result of eating green
and partly cured leaf foliage from nursery stock of the tung
tree, A. fordi, which was discarded in the pasture.
Cattle pastured in tung groves have not been observed to eat
tung tree foliage.
Tests conducted on palatability of cut tung tree foliage show
that it is readily consumed when offered to cattle grazing on
improved grass pasture. Conditions under which cattle were
fatally poisoned by tung tree foliage were such as may occur
on farms where necessary precautions are not taken.
Outstanding symptoms of tung tree foliage poisoning of cattle
consist of profuse watery diarrhea containing abundant blood
extravasations, loss of appetite, emaciation and death.
The most pronounced postmortem lesions consist of hemor-
rhagic gastroenteritis and passive congestion of the great paren-
chymatous organs of the abdominal cavity.
Microscopic lesions consist of small scattered necrotic foci and
granular degeneration in the tissues of the visceral organs.

1. GODDEN, W. The feeding value of tung seed meal. Bul. Trop. Inst.
31:3. 1933.
2. MUENSCHER, W. C. Poisonous plants of the United States. The Mac-
millan Co. 1939. P. 143.
3. NEWELL, WILMON. Preliminary report on experiments with the tung oil
tree in Florida. Fla. Agr. Expt. Sta. Bul. 171: 189-234. 1924.

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