Friday, August 9, 2013

EVIL FLOWERS


Flowers are lovely, and almost everyone loves to receive them. Daisies are bright and cheerful. They remind us of a summer's day  and represent friendship. Roses are elegant and beautiful and are given to our true love. As children we picked tiny yellow buttercups and put them under our chins; if our friends saw a yellow reflection they knew we were fond of butter.

Some of us like the darker, or more morbid versions of flowers.

We can find black versions of tulips, irises, roses, lilies, and many more. We can grow them in our gardens and listen to the Oooos and Aaahhhs from the neighbors who are unfamiliar with these unusual blooms.

I have seen black flowers in wedding bouquets and gracing the wedding cake. They are a favorite at flower and garden shows, and simply fun to grow and look at.

Odessa Calla Lily
 


Morticia Addams cut the bright heads off her roses so she was left with the lovely thorns.



Rick Moranis fed the Venus fly trap unspeakable meals in Little Shop of Horrors.


Not all flowers are pink or yellow and bring back sweet childhood memories.


Some have thorns, some eat protein, and some can kill.

Hidden behind Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland is a poison garden that contains plants that are so toxic and dangerous that some need to be behind a cage like structure. Wolfsbane, Mandrake, Opium, Ricin, Aconitum, and Belladonna are some of the beautiful yet deadly flowers you can view. Some of these plants have been used as herbal remedies in the past, and many are still used in homeopathy today.

Helleborus
is a beautiful plant with a color range from light green to black. It blooms in the winter and can cause burns on the hands if not picked with gloves. If eaten it is highly emetic and potentially fatal. Years ago parents used to treat worms with this plant. It is said if you step on a Christmas rose you will become invisible.

Another poisonous plant is Belladonna, which means 'beautiful woman'. This name came from a troubling practice in Italy where a woman was given Belladonna and her pupils dilated, giving her a very striking and lovely appearance. But ingesting this plant not only causes dilated pupils, but increased sweating, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, and even death.

It is used as a homeopathic remedy, especially for children with fevers that make the child look red, feel hot, and experience throbbing in the head or anywhere else.

Severus Snape made Aconite, or Wolfsbane a household name when he stumped Harry Potter with a poisons question in his stressful class in the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Aconitum is known as the queen of poisons, and was once used to kill wolves years ago. It is said that those in 'an aconite state' are filled with fear, feverish, and can predict the hour that they will die. When ingested it will cause nausea and vomiting, slowing of the heart and respiration, an unpleasant tingling of the limbs, and eventual death, usually within the hour. Poisoning can happen from a skin prick also. In 2004 a British actress poisoned her lover with an Aconite laced curry dish. She is currently serving a life sentence for murder.

There are hundreds of other deadly and beautiful plants.


Although not a flower, a mention of the Manchineel tree is warranted.

The Manchineel tree (Hippomane Mancinella) is so dangerous, it’s often marked with warning signs. Its leaves and small green fruit resemble those of an apple tree, hence the name – which is derived from “manzanilla”, meaning “little apple” in Spanish. But in Spain, this tree is more often known as “little apple of death”. All parts of this tree are so toxic that if you burn it and stand near the smoke, you can go blind.
Stand under this tree during a rainstorm, and you’ll get a nasty surprise in the form of blisters all over exposed parts of your body caused by contact with a white milky substance that the tree secretes when it rains. The Caribs used Manzanilla sap to poison their arrows and even tied captives to its trunk to ensure a slow and painful death. (From WebEcoist)

Interesting that Harry Potter's awful caregivers lived on Privet Drive. Privet is an innocuous looking bush with yellow berries, but the result of ingestion is terrible. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and cold clammy skin are the result. Horses are especially susceptible to the poison, and riders should avoid at all costs.

With lovely names like Fairy Bells and Heart of Jesus you would think these plants would make lovely tea or decorate the prettiest cupcakes...but NO. Heart of Jesus will set your mouth and tongue on fire and send you to Hell, and Fairy Bells, or Foxglove (Digitalis) will cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, cardiac arrest and finally death.

I always hear people say to listen to Mother Nature because it is the most gentle method of healing. I think she is the most fierce and ruthless Mother I've ever met. She takes no prisoners and does not care who you are when she takes a stand.

Certainly plants and flowers enhance our lives with their beauty and medicinal uses...but beware, things are NOT always as they seem. :) 




11 comments:

  1. I love all those dark flowers! They're gorgeous. Black roses...my FAVE! Those lilies are to die for (excuse the pun).

    Great post!
    xx, B

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haw!
    Why do I love the idea of a Poison Garden??
    What the hell is wrong with me...
    XO

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  3. Digitalis is also used pharmacuetically for certain heart conditions. The problem is that taking digitalis also requires diuretic use which can deplete potassium levels and cause digitalis toxicity. The thing is it's really sneaky! So what harms can heal but out of the clear blue can harm. Freaky!
    When I hear of things being so great for you because they're all natural I immediately think of flowers like these... they're all natural too.

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  4. In homeopathy too...called Glonine.
    Almost everything in homeopathy IS a poison, but the difference there is the doses are so minute that the side effects are not the same. (Unless repeated far too many times)
    Like cures like!
    Thanks for the comment Faith :)

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  5. this made me look at flowers (and Mother Nature) in a different light. thank you for sharing Penelope. i learned something fascinating again! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ao!
      Yup. Mother Nature is a bitch!
      Thanks for stopping by.
      :)

      Delete
  6. Hi, Penelope! With my allergies, pretty much any flower is dangerous!! *laughs* Very cool post. I didn't know much of this stuff. In my first house I used to grow roses and put fresh cuttings in the house for my wife and I. They are so lovely. However, as soon as they began to whither, the musky odor really began to wreak havoc on my sinuses. We sold that house and had another built. I don't have any here. I miss them, but I don't miss what they do to me.
    Have a great weekend!

    -Jimmy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no!!
      I know that feeling!
      That is one reason I do NOT like having cut flowers in the house. Fresh is lovely but the minute they start the decline I don't like the smell or the feeling they give my head. Kinda buzzy.
      And I realllly dislike the way the water smells... :P
      Hope you have a great weekend too Jimmy :)

      Delete
  7. Wow, this is fascinating stuff. I like the post about souls as well, but I'll have to digest that one a little. This one, though, is like a primer for any horror writer. Or maybe any writer in general. I had never heard of the Manchineel tree, but wow (again). I wonder if Yann Martel had heard of it when he wrote Life of Pi. I know there was other figurative stuff with that floating island, but the Manchineel sounds like some inspiration for him.

    Thanks for the post. Fun read.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow, this is fascinating stuff. I like the post about souls as well, but I'll have to digest that one a little. This one, though, is like a primer for any horror writer. Or maybe any writer in general. I had never heard of the Manchineel tree, but wow (again). I wonder if Yann Martel had heard of it when he wrote Life of Pi. I know there was other figurative stuff with that floating island, but the Manchineel sounds like some inspiration for him.

    Thanks for the post. Fun read.

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love this kind of thing Paul.
      I studied homeopathy for years at The British Institute of Homeopathy, and was always fascinated that I could cure using a deadly poison. And I agree...this would make for some great writing fodder.
      That Manchineel tree probably DID inspire Martel :)
      Thanks for coming by Paul! Great to see you here!!

      Delete

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