Monday, June 26, 2006

Still More Sidewalk Wonders

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

How long has it been since you've looked closely at a Lady Bug?

They are still quite as marvelous as when you were four.

Bittersweet Nightshade Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

Nightshade, or DEADLY Nightshade as my mother used to call it, is a relative of the potato. There is a reason you're not supposed to eat the sprouts of a potato. They contain a toxin. Though it is extremely difficult to actually poison yourself to death with this toxin. It's effects are so extreme people usually wish they had.

Which toxin? The hallucinogenic poison Belladonna is extracted from this plant. A tinture of Belladonna was used by Spanish women some centuries ago, as a beautifying drop for their eyes. As when also ingested, the pupils of the eyes supposed limpid pools. Of course, with too much there are all those nasty visions.

An unguent containing a number of questionable herbs including Nightshade, rubbed on the skin, has been blamed for the belief by some citizens, that they were in league with the devil and were capable of riding brooms through the sky. Now there's some fun.

Photograph by Eleanor Tauber

In Pennsylvania this is called Bind Weed. Though I've been told it's called Bind Weed because one can make string from the tendrils, I'm more inclined to believe the name came from it's tendency to "bind" all the plants in one's garden together.

This plant is a relative of your garden variety Morning Glory, another hallucinogenic plant. According to report, eating enough packets of Morning Glory seeds will not only make you throw up but will also animate your perception of vending machines to the point where you'll have a conversation with them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Conversations with vending machines? You are a funny lady.