Jimsonweed: A Still Life

Painting by local artist Jane Felts Mauldin

There’s a clue to this plant’s effect if you think about the fallen bud.  Like the scar on Harry Potter’s forehead, it is a hint of a very mysterious past.

Jimsonweed, a Solanaceae, is a member of the potato family. But this is no palatable potato family member. Those lovely, white tube-shaped petals reaching forth from a pitcher containing other wildflowers are Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), a deadly nightshade. Every part of this plant is highly toxic, deadly in many cases. It was Datura stramonium that played a prominent role in the early history of Jamestown, Virginia. In fact, Jamestown is how Jimsonweed got its name.

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