Hot wings maple - horse friendly or toxic

Asked February 5, 2014, 9:52 PM EST

I am trying to find out if the HOT WINGS® Tatarian Maple (Acer tataricum ‘Garann’ PP15023) is safe for horses? I can't seem to find anything anywhere.

Arapahoe County Colorado

1 Response

Red maple (Acer rubrum) and several other common maples have been incriminated in poisoning of horses. Maples contain gallotannins which are converted to pyrogallol in the large intestine of the horse. The following reference gives the details.
Gallotannins and free gallic acid are present in A. rubrum leaves and are metabolized by K. pneumoniaeor E. cloacae in the equine ileum to form pyrogallol either directly or through a gallic acid intermediate (Boyer JD, Breeden DC, Brown DL. Isolation, identification, and characterization of compounds from Acer rubrum capable of oxidizing equine erythrocytes. Am J Vet Res 2002;63:604–610).

The question that has not been answered is are all Acer species equally poisonous to horses. Until proven otherwise, one has to assume that all maples have gallotannins and therefore are potentially dangerous to horses that eat the green or dried leaves. There has been no specific analysis of the Acer tartaricum that I am aware of in the published literature.

If you have a choice, it is recommended that you do not plant any maples in horse enclosures.