During the summer of 1992 renal failure was diagnosed in 232 grazing cattle in 85 herds on the west coast of Norway. The salient clinical signs were depression, anorexia and melaena or fresh blood in the faeces; diarrhoea was also commonly observed. The serum concentrations of creatinine, urea, magnesium and phosphorus, and the activities of glutamate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase were above normal and the serum calcium concentration was below normal. Post mortem examinations consistently revealed renal tubular necrosis. In some cases there was liver necrosis and also erosions at the base of the tongue, in the oesophagus and in the jejunum and colon. The toxicity was probably caused by the plant Narthecium ossifragum (bog asphodel).