Beautiful view, but deadly

deadly-nightshade-flower-and-bud-don_macauley-wikimedia

This is a belladonna a type of flower. Its nickname is Devils berries. All entire plant get poison called tropane and Alkeloids.

Belladonna is a Eurasian perennial with reddish, bell-shaped flowers that bear glossy-coated, black berries. Other names for the plant include belladonna, deadly nightshade, devil’s berries, naughty man’s cherries, death cherries, beautiful death, and devil’s herb. Its most common name, belladonna, derives from Italian, meaning “beautiful woman.” Historically, women have used the herb’s oil to dilate and enlarge the pupils for seductive effect. But it’s best known as the plant of choice for assassins through history.

A native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia, the herb grows wildly in many parts of the United States, mostly in dumps, quarries, near old ruins, under shade trees, or atop wooded hills. Belladonna is a branching plant that often grows to resemble a shrub of about 4 feet in height within a single growing season. Its leaves are long, extending 7 inches, and its bell-shaped flowers are purple with green tinges, about an inch long. The fruit and berries appear green when growing, but, as the toxins get stronger in the ripening stage, turn a shiny black color. Belladonna blooms in midsummer through early fall, and its roots are thick, fleshy, and white, growing to about 6 inches or more in length.

Scopolamine and hyoscyamine are among these toxins, both of which cause delirium and hallucinations. Deadly nightshade berries pose the greatest danger to children, as they are attractive and are deceptively sweet at first bite. Yet just two berries can kill a child who eats them, and it takes only 10 or 20 to kill an adult. Likewise, consuming even a single leaf can prove fatal to humans. Cattle, horses, rabbits, goats, and sheep can eat deadly nightshade without ill effect, though many pets are vulnerable to its lethal effects.

Symptoms of deadly nightshade poisoning present quickly, so if medical aid is far off, drink a large glass of warm vinegar or a mixture of mustard and water, which may dilute and neutralize its toxicity.

it’s cultivated for medicinal purposes in England, France, and North America, the herb has no major value as food. Some home gardeners plant it for its large, colorful display of berries, but remember: This beauty blooms with no printed warning signs, and it’s a risky and deadly choice to grow it haphazardly.

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