Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Loco Plants Toxins
Name: Stephen L.
Status: student
Age: 16
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 12/9/2004

Why is the loco plant not poisonous to itself?

Plants produce different poisons that defend themselves against insects and other creatures that would eat them or microbes that would infect them. Some of these compounds are poisons to the plants themself. The poisons are stored in special places where they will not poison the plant. Other compounds are not poisons of the plants but are poisonous to other creatures. For example, plants do not have nerves so they can make poisons that attack nerves and any creature that has a nervous system will be poisoned.

Jim Tokuhisa

Locoweed is poisonous to animals that ingest it. The toxin it produces is an alkaloid that is not toxic to plants but very toxic to animals, particularly in neurological (brain) pathways.

Possibly helpful:

Anthony Brach PhD.

Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory