Garden

Calicanto and turtles


Question: is calico down toxic?


Can calycanthus leaves be harmful to a land turtle?

Calicanto and turtles: Answer: toxicity of calicanto


Gentile Roldo,
the calicanto is a completely harmless plant that does not contain any particular alkaloids; intrigued by your question, I checked the information concerning the turtles in specific, because in fact they are particular animals, that feed on leaves, and therefore they can ingest even large quantities (considering their weight); in sites specifically dedicated to turtles, I found calico in a table as a very toxic plant, as it should contain a cardio toxin in the seeds, but nothing in the foliage. In fact I find it quite difficult for your tortoise to be able to get close to the calicanto fruits, and in any case, it is enough to prune the twigs that bear fruits and remove these fruits from the garden, so that your turtle cannot come into contact with it. , not even by mistake. I have noticed however that in the various sites they speak of calycanthus, botanical name that unfortunately does not indicate the plant that in Italy is commonly called calicanto. Unfortunately the common use of the name of some plants creates a certain confusion, as the shrubs called calicanto in Italy, belong to the botanical genus chimonanthus, while the genus calycanthus includes shrubs or small trees originating in North America. The two plants are very different from each other, even if they belong to the same family; the calicanto (or rather, chimonanthus) has very early flowers, yellow; calycanthus floridus is a tree or n large shrub with purple flowers, which bloom in late spring or in summer. Chimonanthus has non-toxic foliage, which does not cause problems of any kind to any animal; calycanthus floridus has toxic foliage, which contains substances similar to strychnine, and must be kept away from any small animal. So, to answer your question, it is good to know what you mean by calycanthus: if it is the common calicanthus, which blooms in the middle of winter, with yellow flowers, then do not worry in any way, or at most prune the twigs that bring the little ones green fruits; if, on the other hand, you mean calycanthus floridus, with purple or spring-red summer flowers, then make sure that your tortoise cannot even get close to the plant stem, because the ingestion of even just a couple of leaves of this tree can cause the death of turtles and even other small animals.