a dark gardens glossary: deadly nightshade

Deadly Nightshade is an extremely lovely and dangerous plant. Belladonna and atropine are derived from Deadly Nightshade; both substances have medicinal uses, as well as being fatal in larger doses.

From wikipedia.org:

“The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids….It has a long history of use as a medicine, cosmetic, and poison. Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anesthetic for surgery, and it was used as a poison by early men, and ancient Romans, including the wives of two Emperors, and by Macbeth of Scotland before he became a Scottish King.

The genus name “atropa” comes from Atropos, one of the three Fates in Green mythology, and the name “atropa bella donna” is derived from an admonition in Italian and Greek meaning “do not betray a beautiful lady.””

From botanical.com: “According to old legends, the plant belongs to the devil who goes about trimming and tending it in his leisure, and can only be diverted from its care on one night in the year, that is on Walpurgis, when he is preparing for the witches’ sabbath. The apples of Sodom are held to be related to this plant, and the name Belladonna is said to record an old superstition that at certain times it takes the form of an enchantress of exceeding loveliness, whom it is dangerous to look upon, though a more generally accepted view is that the name was bestowed on it because its juice was used by the Italian ladies to give their eyes greater brilliancy, the smallest quantity having the effect of dilating the pupils of the eye.”

My Nightshade Earrings are, I hope, equally seductive, but are not deadly. They feature vintage cobalt glass lampwork flowers, anchoring swinging chains of bright sterling silver, a bright brass link of oval chain, and a creamy vintage Lucite faux pearl.

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