American burnweed

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Pete28
Posts: 25
Joined: 14 Oct 2018, 22:33

American burnweed

Post by Pete28 » 03 Jun 2020, 22:51

Hey everyone. I couldn't locate anything on the plant search and also searched the forum. Is Erechtites Hierachifolius or American burnweed a safe feed? I can't seem to find anything good or bad. Thank you.

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lin
Posts: 679
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:27

Re: American burnweed

Post by lin » 03 Jun 2020, 23:38

Hi Pete.

As you probably know we are UK based - I was just on my way to bed but we will get back to you regarding the suitability of the Erechtites hieraciifolius in the tortoise diet tomorrow.
Regards

Lin

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Nina
Posts: 1117
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: American burnweed

Post by Nina » 04 Jun 2020, 09:16

Hi Pete,

Thanks for contacting us and sorry to be a bit late in replying.

I've had a good look through the scientific literature, and on the whole, Erechtites hieraciifolius should be OK to feed in moderation or sparingly, although your tortoise might not find it tasty because it is said to have an unpleasant smell and taste.

I found that extracts of the oil contained in the plant can cause vomiting and nausea (but that is a concentrated extract and your tortoise is unlikely to eat enough to cause the effect), and it also contains alkaloids that can affect the liver (again huge quantities would have to be consumed to cause any damage). The articles I consulted were referring to the effects on mammals, and I can find no research on this plant in relation to reptiles.

However, I did find the plant on a list of several hundred plants foraged by Gopher tortoises in Georgia, which is good news. Do keep in mind, however, that because Gopher tortoises consume several hundred different species of plant in any season, no one plant forms a high percentage of the diet. In captivity tortoises do not have such a wide range of plants and so I would be a little cautious about offering large quantities of Erechtites, but I think it could easily be a small part of a wide and varied diet.

I hope that helps,

Nina

Pete28
Posts: 25
Joined: 14 Oct 2018, 22:33

Re: American burnweed

Post by Pete28 » 20 Jun 2020, 00:04

Thank you so much and that helps tremendously. Being in Florida I am very fortunate to have several gopher tortoises on my property. I will let my little ones have a taste and see how it goes.

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Nina
Posts: 1117
Joined: 16 Mar 2017, 11:22

Re: American burnweed

Post by Nina » 20 Jun 2020, 10:31

Oh gosh, how lovely to be in Florida and have gopher torts on your property! I do envy you. Actually I was born in Florida, but have lived in the UK for a very long time. I don't miss the hot humid summers there, but you do get a much higher quality UVB from the sun than we do this far north.

Nina

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