Over the last decade or so, spring has brought with it an unfortunate tradition into my life. I go outside, inspired to garden with all the lovely flowers and innocent woodland creatures, and upon my return to the great indoors, it is inevitable. It has an appropriate name: poison oak, and the things it does to me are not in any way enjoyable. Puffy face. Horrible rash. Blisters. The itching is the stuff torture chambers in horror movies are made of. And I’ll be the first to admit that me + poison oak = dark things.
And while I was in that bleak place where I cursed the outdoors, plants, cats that wander into poison oak and bring it back to me, and even well-meaning husbands, the dark side of me (oh, yes. She most definitely exists) was inspired to write this post. What if, instead of beautiful flowers and edible vegetables, I planted a poisonous garden? *Rubs hands together and cackles* You never know when you might need to pass on a little poison, and here are a few plants that might be helpful. You know, so others might share in the misery.
|Photo courtesy of Pixabay|
Narcissus. Grinding up its bulb and sprinkling it in…oh, I don’t know, chocolate chip cookies that your innocent victims won’t suspect…will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Too much can be fatal, so use accordingly. Did you know that this flower was named after the Greek legend Narcissus, who saw his reflection in water, became obsessed, and fell in? He drowned and made a comeback as the flower. Also, in ancient times, the flower’s perfume had a bad rep of causing headaches, madness and death. Definitely a good fit for a poison plant garden, eh? On the positive side, the bulbs may also be used as an antiseptic dressing for wounds, and mixing it (not too much!) with honey serves as a painkiller. I suppose it’s another case of user intent.
Lily of the Valley. Consuming its leaves and flowers will instigate irregular heart rate, digestive upset and mental confusion. Serving it to an unlucky, unsuspecting guest might make for good party entertainment, at least the mental confusion part. Once upon a time, Lily of the Valley was considered unlucky, said to have sprouted from St. Leonard’s wounds after he vanquished a dragon. That sounds like good luck to me, but whatever. And the Irish believe these flowers are used as fairy ladders…with a warning. The gardener who plants a bed of them will be struck dead in a year. So maybe keep only one plant in your poison garden. The ying to the poison yang: Lily of the Valley may alleviate the pain of gout, ease eye pain, restore speech, and help treat heart disease and memory. So once your victim is poisoned and undergoing mental confusion, if you’re feeling benevolent (or guilty) maybe you can use the same plant to restore their memory.
|Photo courtesy of Pixabay|
Nightshade. If you’re going to have a poisonous plant garden, Nightshade is a must. All parts of it are fatal, especially the unripened berries. Ingesting it causes intensive digestive issues, but more than that, Nightshade is alleged to be a favorite for witch’s spells. In centuries past, it was rumored that consuming small quantities would allow visions into the future. Take too much, though, and it’s madness instead. Also cool, Nightshade is an important ingredient for the flying ointment witches smeared over themselves to ride the skies. And keeping Nightshade close will keep evil spirits away. If only it worked on that demon poison oak…
There are, of course, many other plants you could include in your poison garden, but I believe I’ve given you enough nefarious ideas for one day. Use your powers for good, people. 😊 Do you have any innocent-looking poisonous plants in your backyard? Are you vulnerable to the evils of poison oak like I am?