Locoweed and Dead Steer
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A Locoweed & A Dead Steer

Left (A): The notoriously poisonous locoweed Astragalus oxyphysus native to Kern County. Right (B): Astragalus pomonensis, a common locoweed with large, inflated seed pods native to coastal and interior valleys of southern California. When dry, the seeds rattle inside the papery pods; hence, the common name of rattleweed.

Dead steer in a pasture with several individuals of the toxic locoweed Astragalus oxyphysus in the foreground (white arrow). This notoriously poisonous locoweed covered many acres of nearby land (on the other side of the hill) where this unfortunate steer had been grazing. Contrary to the observations of several students, the steer in photo was NOT sleeping. My untested hypothesis is that the steer consumed quantities of the locoweed. Of course, this is definitely NOT a well-substantiated theory.

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