Widespread. Grows in moist conditions in disturbed areas.
Botanical description: General: An annual shrublet that can grow up to 1 m high. Leaves: The leaflets are shallowly toothed in the upper two thirds. Flowers: The yellow flowers are in crowded inflorescenses. Spring – Summer.
When sweet clover hay with a high moisture content is stacked, it can spoil easily and become toxic. The toxicity may be retained for years. By microbial action the coumarin in the plant is modified to dicoumarol which has a potent anticoagulative effect on blood.
Sweet clover disease.
• Cattle, especially calves, are often affected.
• Large amounts of spoilt hay have to be eaten before animals are affected.
• The onset of bleeding can be quite sudden and fatal bleedings may be experienced during surgery.
• Mortality is quite high.
• Most animals will die within three days.
Animals can be treated successfully with repeated doses of Vit K1 and blood transfusions.
Colour photos. Final web-ready size: JPEG, 72 ppi. Photo 1: 17.2 kb; Photo 2: 9.7 kb; Photo 3: 23.3 kb; Photo 4: 35.8 kb. Original TIFF file housed at the Dept. of Paraclinical Sciences, Section Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Pretoria.