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Long, slow, poisonous strip-tease.

The datura (alias jimsonweed, zombie cucumber, devil's trumpet, mad hatter, crazy tea) is blooming. There are seven flower buds on it, one is opening, and it's taking its sweet time about it.

The biggest one was in the bud stage for a week. Finally, three days ago, the tip of the bud cracked open, hinting at the densely-packed petals within. Two days ago, the tip looked like a cuban cigar, a slender taper with petals struggling to escape in a white frizz.

This morning, the petals had extended out a good three inches from the remains of the bud, but were still densely packed together. The tip of the flower was starting to open in a spiral of promising petals.

Datura's hallucinations, at least according to Wiki, are lifelike, even mundane, such that some of its users overdose (and die) because they didn't think it had any effect. Interestingly, one common hallucination is holding a lighter or holding/smoking a cigarette. This is common even for non-smokers. I'm not sure what that means.

Day four, and the flower is still teasing me.

[edit, no, I'm not planning on taking it, just in a slightly meditative frame of mind right now.]

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
obonic
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
I've never even heard of it. o.o you going to take it?
spottylogic
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC)
Probably not, I'm a wuss when it comes to things that are illegal or could kill me. I can't say I'm not tempted, though.
obonic
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
I'm sure there better things that are less likely to kill you. find some salvia or something.
eris_star
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
eris_star
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
Just a small note - the movie and the book have almost nothing to do with each other. I have an autographed copy of the book, and I highly recommend it.

The movie is fun with popcorn, but that's about it.
itza
Aug. 14th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
I'll eat it! *nom nom nom*
mercuryisme
Aug. 14th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Isn't it also wolfsbane and ghostflower?
eris_star
Aug. 14th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Nope.
wolfsbane
ghostflower

Plants do chemistry like animals do behavior, so it turns out that there are all sorts of plant toxins that can break our little monkey bodies and minds.
spottylogic
Aug. 14th, 2008 04:19 pm (UTC)
It might be ghostflower, that sounds like a good name for it. It's NOT wolvesbane, that's...uh...aconitum vulparis, I think, though most of the horrible psychotropic family is related.
darklingfox
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Yup. Classic Wolfsbane is Vulparia, though people like to lump it in and confuse it with Monkshood (napellus). Its not in the Nightshade family, though, which houses a host of fun things like Datura, mandrake, etc..

I love the Solanaceae (nightshade) family! Recently discovered that my withania somnifera is a member of it. I was planning on using it's berries as rennet to make cheese.

Speaking of wolfsbane, though, were you able to get them to sprout??
spottylogic
Aug. 15th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I haven't tried yet. They look kind of high maintanance, and I can't keep anything poisonous in the back yard (puppies...) Do the seeds keep well? I'll probably try them in the spring.
darklingfox
Aug. 15th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC)
They should keep alright in a cool, dry place... but I'd definitely try them within a years time, if possible. They do need to be tricked into germinating by periods of frigid temperature and wetness to imitate snow melt. =/ Pretty high maintenance. To tell you the truth, I've not gotten them to germinate. =) I'll probably try again soon... but I'm not in a rush. These plants feel like (even from the seeds) they are one of the most dangerous plants I've attempted to grow. I'm anxious to see them, though! I only have one supplier of the Vulparia ssp., and I would like to eventually be able to coax some plants to grow so I can propagate my own seeds.
darklingfox
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
Nonono.. =) You can eat some Datura and have a mind-rending experience and maybe not die so much. You eat an equal measure of wolfsbane, and you will have a very different (and dreadful) experience, likely ending in death. Different families and such... People used to tip arrows with aconite (wolfsbane or monkshood) to kill each other. It won't make you hallucinate so much... you'll be pretty lucid and clear-headed for the duration of your final hour.
darklingfox
Aug. 15th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
Yeah, its crazy about the smoking thing. Really interesting how a chemical effects all sorts of people in the same, very specific way, regardless of whether or not they have smoked before.

Really, most of the bad stuff happens because half of them are dumb and don't give their first dose an hour to kick in, and end up overdosing. Or they don't have a sitter and end up in a strangers house going through their spoon drawer.

I've taken some of the stronger sister, Deadly Nightshade. Just enough to get close to the edge, and let me say, it wasn't the most comfortable experience. I had eaten about five berries but didn't want to hallucinate on them (it wasn't the time or place). I spent a bit of the night stumbling to the mirror to stare into my eyes to calm myself down. I knew I didn't take enough to be fatal, but the natural dread that settled in wasn't logical. That mixed with all the other effects of paralyzing your sympathetic nervous system... I couldn't close my eyes without falling into chaos... so back to the mirror. I eventually did sleep, harder than I had in a while. The next day, my roomie was talking to me when I woke up, and while they spoke, I found myself suspended face first over an endless expanse of water... staring down into it as water slowly dripped off my nose into the rippling surface. The rest of my day, and week really, was very heavy, calm, and lucid. It was like being in a hurricane and then calming it to perfect silence with a word. I used to take it as a last ditch attempt to straighten out my perspective, usually mixed with some other herbs into a tonic (the leaf, not the berries). I wouldn't suggest it to others though, unless they knew what they were doing and take mind of the risks. After taking the tonic, which tasted like a spiced green tea with a touch of alcohol, and a warm bath, I would collapse onto the couch or bed. I could feel my pulse throb through every vein in my body... feel every capillary. The pulse was so strong that it shook the air around me, escaping me like a wave along with the heat from my core. I would be so weak that I felt like I was dissolving into the air... hovering around my body instead of in it.. melting into everything. It is something that is hard to describe... Body so heavy that it sinks while the rest of you floats, ethereal.

The following day and week, my body felt a little weaker, but more refreshed and cleansed, and a lot of the dross and destructive things that I had been carrying with me would be gone, replaced by a simple, calm and.. more real perspective. Like opening your eyes after meditation.

(oh... rabbit trail. sorry!)
spottylogic
Aug. 15th, 2008 01:38 pm (UTC)
no, not at all! Not being one who ingests strange things, this sort of experience is fascinating to read about!
darklingfox
Aug. 15th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you think so! =) I love reading about people's experiences with plants like this too.

Oh, a quick note: I don't know if it effects everyone the same way, but I have handled Deadly Nightshade foliage without gloves to no ill effect. I've even made jam from the berries, staining my hands purple! The only time it really soaked through my skin to a very noticeable degree was when I was harvesting and rinsing off the root of my three-year-old mother nightshade plant. That effected me quite a bit.

The foxglove variety I have was different in that regard. I would spend some time separating the seedlings/roots, and immediately afterwards I would have to lay down for a while because my heart would be pounding and I would feel weak and have to sleep it off... probably from the digitoxin. Powerful little things.

The wolfsbane seeds, when I held them in my palm, seemed to feel very heavy and send out pulses similar to how my whole body feels after taking that tonic, except localized in my palm. My palm was not even moist or sweaty. I'm very careful with those seeds... and usually wear gloves when planting them, especially since the soil is wet when I do.

Treat them with care! =)

I'm currently trying to get brugmansia to grow. I hear that sleeping under them at night may cause nasty nightmares due to their fragrance. I've always been fascinated with plants who have (literally) intoxicating fragrances. There is another plant who is supposed to be quite a bit stronger in that department, but I forget what it is.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )