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B is for Belladonna.....

A member of the Nightshade family of deadly plants that also, ironically, includes potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants and tobacco. Every bit of the Belladonna plant is toxic, especially it's berries which have often been ingested by many an unwary forest traveler.


A favorite of witches and Medieval ladies, though  not for the same reasons.


A powerful potion additive, Belladonna was an effective and fast-acting poison, one that is reported to cause vivid hallucinations and purported to cause its victim's heart to pound so loudly that it can be heard several
 feet away.


In folklore, witches were believed to mix Belladonna with other poisonous plants, like Monkshood and Hemlock to brew a flying ointment, which, when applied, would help them fly to the gatherings of other witches. Though, as strong a hallucinogenic as this ointment was, where they actual "flew" would have been questionable.


For the vain and beauty-seeking lady of the Middle Ages, the juice of the Belladonna berry was prized for its pupil dilating abilities-- a highly coveted attribute during the time, so highly coveted that it contributed to the naming of the plant... Bella (beautiful) + Donna (lady)....











Belladonna Dreams

Taste not the devil cherries, child,
sip not the nightshade wine.
Hold tight when walking through the wild, 
seek not the witches' design.  

Strange visions ache to steal life's light,
to take your final breath.
Cursed with beauty's soft enchanted sight,
the tragic resplendent lain in death.

                                                                                          -- e.a.s. demers

Comments

  1. nice post e.a.s - are you doing plants generally as the challenge?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! Not plants so much as poisons :-) Felt the need to have some fun this year :-)

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    2. Are you planning to take someone out quietly? JK I like it!

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    3. *looks around sheepishly* Shhhhhh!!!!

      Delete
  2. Oh, I had to go listen to Stevie Nicks' Bella Donna. http://youtu.be/oHs-3Q7fe90

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't say I'm familiar with the song, but I'll go check it out :-)

      Delete
  3. Great post! I'd always wondered about the origins of the name Belladonna--seemed so weird for such a toxic plant, haha. And now, thanks to you, I *know* :) Great B post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I always thought it was a strange name for such a deadly plant...but, there you go :-)

      Delete
  4. Monkshood, Hemlock, Belladonna...why is the more deadly the plant, the more poetic a name we give it?

    People self-medicated with an alkaloid for cosmetic effect? Wow. And I thought tanning beds were bad.

    "Cursed with beauty's soft enchanted sight..." Niiiiice.

    You're always one of the best stops of my blogging day. Thanks for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks for that!

      I know... I'll never understand why people feel the need to play with deadly things for the sake of "beauty."

      Delete
  5. A-Z explorer. Awesome theme! Love it! Bit off subject..we had a cat once that we named Belladonna...she ended up being a Bit on the, um, special side...

    Regardless! I love this. I've always been fascinated with poisons and poisonous plants...especially once I found out they used to keep a Poison plant garden back in Victorian Times! What the Hell?! Crazy! :)

    Saffron Wine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping by...and I'll admit, I have a thing about poisons myself.

      And, there was something slightly off about Victorians--- I think they all harbored a secret death wish, nothing else could explain why they tempted fate so much :-)

      Delete
  6. Replies
    1. Yes, yes they will.... though, I've never understood why....

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