Among the many trees in the forest, the wild cherry tree (Prunus pensylvanica) is one of the most toxic, as the leaves contain cyanide, which is toxic to cattle and many other animals. If cyanide is present in a body, it is capable of killing or stuning animals because it prevents the proper functioning of chemical pathways in the mitochondria, such as ATP production and oxidative phosphorylation, and therefore leads to hypoxia and methemoglobinemia, which leads to death from hypoxia and methemoglobinemia within a few minutes of the poisoning.
As a result of the wild cherry’s attractiveness to livestock, wild cherry leaves can poison or kill livestock and the leaves of the wild cherry can even cause cardiac arrhythmias and convulsions in mammals. It is also possible to kill livestock by eating the wild cherry leaves because they contain an alkaloid called canrenone.
There are many livestock throughout the West who have suffered from wild cherry poisoning, which is a painful and dangerous problem. The poisonous wild cherry trees are a type of tree which not only poisons cattle, horses, sheep, goats, deer, other animals, and pets such as dogs and cats, but may also kill valuable wildlife, such as deer, elk, and cow, if the leaves are consumed in large amounts.
Is it possible for cows to eat the leaves of wild cherry trees?
The bark of the cherry tree contains poisonous compounds called cyanide and canrenone that can be lethal to cows if consumed in large quantities. However, if cows consume a large quantity of cherry leaves, the leaves can poison their bodies with cyanide and canrenone.
What is the best way to prevent poisoning from wild cherries?
Keeping livestock from accessing wild cherry trees may help farmers prevent wild cherry poisoning. It is not recommended to graze cattle with electric fencing near a pasture that contains wild cherry trees in order to prevent wild cherry poisoning. The farmers may also plant a high density of wild cherry trees so that the cattle cannot access them. Furthermore, it is recommended that people avoid eating or handling any part of the wild cherry tree, including the bark and the wood, in addition to livestock.