In my quest to read 100+ books this year, as inspired by ChickenFreak, I have read a few Agatha Christie novels since January. They are short, entertaining, and bring back really good memories, filled with lush country mansions and the idle rich of a bygone era.
Have you noticed that Agatha loved to kill off everybody with poison? AND, no matter who did it, they either got the poison out of the gardening shed or grabbed some leaves from that rambling estate garden on the Devon coast, and threw it in the port. Or the afternoon tea.
Some met their death through peach cultivars (prunus) from whose pits come the famous cyanide. Others choked on their last words with a good gulp of something from the Nightshade family. Digitalis, arsenic and morphine all found their way from garden to dead person in her novels.
I did a quick inventory of my murderous potential growing outside today, just for fun of course, and really... Nobody better mess with me. Just saying.
First there is the common foxgloves I have poking out of various places. In medical circles this is known as Digitalis, and its either a heart medication, or a heart stopper, depending on how much you take.
Next stop, the Easter Lilies I picked up at the grocery store after Easter. Its not terribly harmful to me, but deadly poisonous to my cat, Siggy, who has already used up 7 of her 9 lives in less than a year as it is. They aren't in the house anymore. And pretty much all lilies are bad for cats, though squirrels don't seem to mind them.
Back behind my little parking area: the oleander. Now this is a seriously poisonous plant, can easily kill children and pets, and it is everywhere in this fair city. I bet there are more than 30 planted on my block alone; they line the streets. I think I have always known it was poisonous, but folks it is knock your socks of deadly in small amounts. All parts too.
Right smack in the middle of the patio is my one tropical love, the Brugmansia, which if you listen to everything that is said on the internet, is poisonous to even smell. I'm pretty sure thats an exaggeration, however, it, along with Datura is the prime candidate for poisoning by the Deadly Nightshade family. I have no issues handling it, but it is one of those that cannot under any circumstances be ingested. The potato is a relative and this is why for years people were scared to eat them. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been jumping at the chance either. I mean if you really look at a potato objectively, not like a future french fry, doesn't it look kind of poisonous?
I've got a few delphiniums growing from seed in the sunny border. Yep, poisonous too. They contain delphinine, which causes gastrointestinal issues and has felled many a cow. Delphiniums and larkspurs near fields and meadows = bad plan.
And finally my lantana, which is about as native naturalized as you can get here, disrupts the mucus lining of stomach membranes, and to some people is even irritating to touch.
So that's just in my tiny yard. There are so many more out there. Autumn Crocus ingestion can cause massive multi-system failures, Lily of the Valley, theoretically you shouldn't even touch without handwashing, as it can cause cardiac arrest. Yews, azaleas, poppies, dieffenbachia, daffodils, hyacinths, iris, wisteria, jasmine, bleeding heart, daphne, wolfsbane, and sago palms. All poisonous. Some very deadly poisonous. (i.e. don't go eating your azaleas).
All of this and we haven't even gotten into whatever the heck is in Miracle Gro. No wonder the British gentry of the 30's could pull this off so easily, right?
Wildflower Wednesday - Buy Responsibly
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