Sunday, 18 May 2014
Poisonous & Beautiful: Datura
The second of the poisonous pretty beautiful things in nature is another flower, one that is quite toxic and by far the most alien looking flower on the planet.
Datura, otherwise called Moonflower and Angel's Trumpet, is both a killer and a beautiful weed. Datura is a drug and a poisonous herb, often associated with magic and murder. This flower is part of the Solanaceae "nightshades" family. It's nicknamed in folklore as the "witch's thimble".
Throughout history people have poisononed food and drink with Datura, resulting in deaths. Datura causes severe side effects, hallucinations, fatigue, intoxication and aggression, pain and vomiting. Some people who've eaten Datura and survived have experienced a number of terrible side effects and had to be hospitalised.
Some treatments of Datura poisoning includes stomach pumps with potassium solution and Eserine remedies. Eserine is also named Physostigmine, grown from the calibar bean, found on the leguminous climbing plant of Africa. It's effects removes the effects of Datura, and other types of poisoning.
The exotic Datura has five petals that are in usually soft candy shades of white, yellow, purple and pink. These flowers look like a display of upturned flowing pettiskirts. They unfold in a spiral anti-clockwise pattern with curled tips. Then their fully opened flowers look like wonderful hexagons. Some say that Datura is used in gardens to get rid of pests but don't underestimate the dangers of Datura. It must be handled with professional advice.