Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 27, 2009

Datura

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 5:17 pm

Deadly nightshade.  Henbane.  Mandrake.  The stuff of which love potions and witches’ brews were made of… and its cousin, Datura, is represented in gorgeous mounds of plants favoring the shady nooks at the bases of the cliffs.

All Datura plants contain tropane alkaloids such as scopolamine and atropine, primarily in their seeds and flowers. There can be a 5:1 toxin variation across plants, and a given plant’s toxicity depends on its age, where it is growing, and the local weather conditions.  

Most parts of the plants contain toxic hallucinogens, and Datura has a long history of use for causing delirious states and death.  According to the drug information site Erowid, no other substance has received as many “Train Wreck” (i.e., severely negative experience) reports as has Datura, noting that “the overwhelming majority of those who describe to us their use of Datura find their experiences extremely mentally and physically unpleasant and not infrequently physically dangerous.”  In some parts of Europe and India, this plant has been used for suicide and murder.

So.  Enjoy its beauty.  Look, but don’t eat.  And, thank you, Wikipedia, for cool info on Datura.

 

Datura plant

Datura plant

Datura blossom

Datura blossom

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