One of the challenges when studying herbs is the confusion that arrises from folk and common names. The nightshades are a perfect example. In this post we will look at two, Both are from the Solanaceae family, as were the previous Deadly Halloween Herbs, excluding Aconite.
The lesson from this is that it is critical to know the latin name when studying herbs. For that reason I'll list the latin name first, with the paintings, and additional folk names below. Also, please beware of what you find on the internet. I've seen sketches with black berries on the bittersweet night shade and I have never seen the plant or a photo of the plant with black berries. They can be green, yellow, orange or red, but I've never seen black.
Both of the herbs are poisonous and all parts should be avoided.. They have both been attributed to enabling witches to fly. "Bella Donna" means beautiful lady in Italian and at one time women were rumored to use the herb to enlarge their pupils so they would look more desirable. Sadly as with many herbs, the amount needed was almost the same as the lethal dose so there were accidental deaths as a result. I'll stick with eyeliner and mascara for my eye make up. If that's not good enough, the guy can take a hike!
When the Deadly Nightshade flowers,
open their lids
for their lovers;
Maenads fall upon men
dripping with dreams;
& children die
from the sweetest
of inky fruits.
wine of the Bacchanals,
you are indeed the witch’s berry,
I look into your open eye & see
women in love with death,
dying with the widest
& brightest of eyes.
Have you no shame at all
The other herbs
pretend to be angelic,
but you freely play
the Devil’s part.
Dwaleberry, Sorcerer’s cherry,
your sweetness bursts
on the tongue,
the lungs relax,
& death comes
Jimsonweed - Dratura Strimonium
© Mikell Y. Worley, Jimsonweed, Watercolor, 5" x 7"
Today's herb is Jimsonweed, also called devil's trumpet, Hell's bells, thorn apple and moon flower, from the genus Datura. It belongs to the Solanacease (nightshade) family. Its toxic ingredients include tropane alkaloids, including atropine, hyoscyamine and scopolamine, and it is particularly dangerous because the amount needed for a high is nearly the same as the lethal over dose which greatly increases the chance of accidental fatal overdose.
There are times I simply must pause when I do herbal research. These are the kinds of things that have guided me to avoid deadly herbs for so long. I've been sharing information on haunting herbs for years and it has all been in fun, using only herbs found in the gardens of the white witches. But there can be a dark and serious side to herbal use. The lists of illness and most often death associated with this herb are readily available on the internet so I won't list them here.
That being said, I have been in awe of the gorgeous Jimsonweed for years and would not be anymore inclined to eat it than I would poison ivy. I can enjoy it at a distance and as with all the deadly herbs, I strongly advise you look but don't touch!
Bliss, M. (2001), Datura Plant Poisoning, Clinical Toxicology Review
Some years it hits harder than others. Time doesn't necessarily 'heal all wounds'. I suppose it helps, but depending on our frame of reference at the time, some years it is easier to bear. This isn't one of them.
My dad died of a heart attack when he was 46. He lived through active duty in World War !! and the Korean War, then returned home to teach calculus at an engineering school in West Virginia. He had several heart attacks before the fatal one in November of 1963, 20 days before the assassination of President Kennedy. My mother, brother and I moved away from the Kanawha River, mountains, and a college town to central PA. I called it 'cement city' and felt displaced and separated. My heart was broken.
"Today is "D". On 6 June 1944 the war turned in favor of the Allies. If today never happened, most people believe that we would all be speaking German now instead of English.
This country was preparing for an invasion. There were air raid practices every night; factories were camouflaged to look like villages; even German submarines came into the upper part of the Chesapeake Bay; food was rationed and hard to get. But on "D" day, thanks to the sacrifices of our men serving in the Armed Forces, all of this started to change. It took a few years but it did change.
Those of us living in this area should be particularly proud because the invasion at Normandy was spearheaded, primarily, by the 29th Division, which was comprised mostly of men from Pa., Md., Va. and D.C. and trained in Maryland before being sent to Scotland before the invasion.
So let's don't forget the importance of 6 June 1944 and how it effects our lives, and maybe we could take a little time and say a prayer for those who didn't survive that day."
After reading this, I called my brother to ask if my dad had ever mentioned where he was on June 6, 1944, or if there has been any mention of the Korean War. Mother said he was very different when he returned from service. Of course. But that is all we knew and neither of them are here to ask.
Most of my memories of my dad are associated his support for my unique perception of the world, my frustration with what i later learned was 'Dumbing Us Down' education, and his creative approach to teaching.. There are stories through out this site that are more uplifting, and as the day goes on, I'll try to shift to lighter memories. But right now, over a half a century later, my heart is heavy, and I miss him.
The rose, cherished internationally, is a native of the United States! The oldest known fossil was found on a slate deposit in Florissant, Colorado and it is estimated to be about thirty-five million years old! In 1987 legislation was passed to make the rose the United States National Floral Emblem. It is the state flower of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, North Dakota and New York.
The world’s oldest rose bush is growing on the walls of the . . . read on to find out more about the rose - how it was created, how it got its colors, what the colors mean and how to send messages with the number of roses and the colors you chose.
Down load your free pdf file below!
"My mission is
to help others see and cherish the beauty,
romance and treasures within and around them
that are often dismissed or completely overlooked."
Lessons From Nature
Pay It Forward
Take The Rose Instead