locoweed

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locoweed or crazyweed [Span. loco=crazy], any of several American species of the genera Astragalus and Oxytropus, north-temperate leguminous plants of the family Leguminosae (pulse family), that, when eaten by horses, cattle, or sheep, cause a nervous disorder called loco disease. The locoweeds, perennials native to the West and Southwest, have pealike flowers and pinnately compound leaves. Not all species of these genera have been found poisonous. An Old World plant related to the Astragalus locoweeds is the source of gum tragacanth. Locoweed is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Rosales, family Leguminosae.

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lo·co·weed / ˈlōkōˌwēd/ • n. 1. a widely distributed plant (genera Astragalus and Oxytropis) of the pea family that, if eaten by livestock, can cause a brain disorder, the symptoms of which include unpredictable behavior and loss of coordination. 2. inf. cannabis.

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locoweed Astralagus and Oxytropus spp., common in arid areas of the western USA. Toxic to cattle, causing locoism: neurological damage, abortion, and birth defects. Apparently caused by an alkaloid, swainsonine, which is also found in mouldy hay.