Bog asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum
) is a perennial herb with a creeping rhizome which is mainly a problem for cattle. It is native to Western Europe. The species name of “ossifragum
” means bone breaker in latin, derived from the observation that sheep grazing on the plant developed brittle bones. The plant produces spikes of bright yellow flowers during the summer months, where it tends to grow on wet, boggy moorlands up to 1000 m in elevation.
All parts of N. ossifragum
contains steroidal saponins and furanones. The steroidal saponins are hepatotoxic, causing liver damage. For several hundred years N. ossifragum
has been associated with photosensitvity
and liver damage in grazing livestock in Europe