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Toxic Plants




Many garden plants and ornamental trees are toxic to livestock. Toxic weeds can hide in your lawn as well. To be on the safe side, NEVER feed alpacas cuttings of trees, plants, garden weeds or lawn clippings. Except for lawn clippings, don’t even leave them on a compost heap, leaves can blow away and still cause fatal damage. Take to the tip or put in plastic rubbish bags. Cut flowers from a vase should go into the rubbish as well.

Before buying plants for your garden, check if they are found on this list. Most lilies, irises and plants with berries are toxic for alpacas. Although not digging up roots, they do nibble on things if you would lead them through your garden.

NEVER plant Rhodondendron/Azalea, Oleander, Box or Golden Rain (Laburnum) on your property. If you buy a property that already has these shrubs or trees and you also have alpaca, take either the plants out or the alpaca. They are incompatible. Only ONE leaf, green or wilted, of Rhododendron is already fatal. Alpaca have it in their mouth before you can act and you will never get it out. Leaves are blown away in the paddock no matter how careful you are.

Get rid of weeds and ornamentals with berries. Most of them are toxic to (livestock, inclusive alpacas. Refrain from buying such ornamental shrubs. Better be safe than sorry.

Check with your farm centre which sprays are best used for eliminating certain weeds. Remember that some weeds stay toxic even when dead, you have to physically remove the plant. Sprays don’t have to be chemicals, there are “green” sprays on the market as well. Alternatively, plant or seed other plants/grasses that will prevent the growth of unwanted weeds.


  1. “The Poisonous Plants in New Zealand” by H.E. Connor -GP Publications 
  1. Extract from “Is It Poisonous?” by Dr Helen Dauncey and Robyn Lawson, of NZ Poisons Information Centre, 1994 
  1. “A Guide to the identification of NZ Common Weeds in Colour”, compiled by EA Upritchard for the NZ Weed and Pest Control Societe Inc., some photos used 
  1. Further comments from: Southern Alpacas, Aurora Alpacas and Federated Llamas 

Photos were taken by E. Atkinson, J. Klomp. Other photographic material was used from the Massey University website on NZ Weeds; JT Salmon, Native Trees of NZ; NZ Agrichemical Manual; The Tree & Shrub Expert by DG Hessaydon. 

Production of paddock card and compiling of list by J.Klomp

Disclaimer: The Alpaca Association NZ Inc will not be responsible for any incorrect information by the authors as mentioned above. Not ALL toxic plants are listed, further reading is advised and can be found in the above.

The original lists used to compile this file are also included to search by the plant’s Family name.

This is a guideline only for toxic plants in New Zealand.  In this list all plants are in alphabetical order under their common name. Some have more than one name. The toxicity is graded for alpacas only, relating to their eating habits (they are unlikely to dig up and or eat roots). Low toxicity and risk has 1+, extremely high toxicity and risk has 5+. The risk factor is measured by the likelihood of being ingested.