Killer Salad!

Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by togata57, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Columbus, Ohio
    August 12, 2009---Hannover, Germany:
    A customer at a Plus store discovered something other than arugula in his bag of salad: common groundsel, Senecio vulgaris. Fortunately, the customer was lucky enough to be a plant expert, and immediately recognized the groundsel leaves, which resemble salad greens. Plus has pulled all of this item from its shelves, and a spokeswoman for the store said that its relationship with the supplier will be affected by the outcome of an investigation.

    Senecio vulgaris is a yellow-flowering member of the family Asteraceae. Its leaves produce a biocide against being eaten: the toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloid senecionine, which can cause liver damage.

    Now... whether or not eating this amount of groundsel would be fatally toxic---I dunno! But it can't be good, I'm thinkin'.

    Awaiting Ron B to weigh in with his opinion: True danger, or overblown-by-media threat?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2010
  2. MrsGreenthumbs

    MrsGreenthumbs Active Member

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    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    This reminds me of a few years back when a popular ladies magazine instructed readers to place Lily of the Valley flowers on cakes and said there were ediable! The ad was quickly pulled, thank heavens!
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
    It would depend on whether the entire bag was filled only with Groundsel, or it was just one or two shoots mixed in accidentally. The first could be a problem, the second unlikely to be so. Groundsel is much less toxic than e.g. Ragwort Senecio jacobaea.
  4. Robert Flogaus-Faust

    Robert Flogaus-Faust Active Member 10 Years

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    Dreieich, Germany
    My guess is that the story was very good for the newspapers and magazines and rather bad for some farmers producing Diplotaxis tenuifolia salad.

    There were lots of warnings in the German press and almost everyone feared the common groundsel, which is a very common weed in Germany. As far as I know Senecio vulgaris is very unpalatable (bitter). So it is very unlikely that anyone would ingest large quantities of this plant. And almost everyone should be able to see the difference between these plants. If you can read a German text, then you might check this source:

    Many of the German Senecio articles in late summer of 2009 looked more or less like this, however (German text):

    If you understand some German and know common groundsel, then you'll certainly enjoy this, especially the photograph and its explanatory text. ;-)

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