September 16, 2013

Belladonna

September 16, 2013 Photo of the day:
"Currant Affairs" [sic]

cur·rent af·fairs (ˈkʌrənt əˈfɛəz) - plural noun: events of interest and importance happening at the present time. En français: les actualitésHere's what's happening in our neighborhood this evening:

WOW! I'm glad I know such intelligent people. Earlier this evening, I posted this image of what I though were wild currants. Diana, a retired Pewaukee Lake Elementary teacher, informed me that these are actually Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade! A bit of research confirms that these beautiful berries are extremely toxic. When ingested the poisonous plant causes delirium and hallucinations. Apparently, it also has a history of use as a medicine, anesthetic, and cosmetic. The ancient Romans used it as a poison and it was used to make poison-tipped arrows. The name "bella donna" is derived from Italian and means "beautiful woman" because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive. Allusions to the notorious plant appear in the work of Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde. Because of its beauty and sweet flavor, the berries of the plant are especially dangerous attracting children and pets. Consuming two to five berries or just one leaf contains enough poison to kill an adult!  Thank you, Diana, for enlightening me!