Bizarre Botany: Jimsonweed
Jimsonweed is named after Jamestown, but actually gained notoriety due to a mass poisoning in 1676.
The people of Jamestown, Virginia, who were primarily soldiers, believed they were simply enjoying a fresh salad. Unfortunately, the leaves and seeds induce delirium and bring about hallucinations.
Strangely enough, humans have been poisoned by the Jimsonweed in far greater numbers than animals. The flowers are sizable, and normally a beautiful shade of purple. Jimsonweed is known for a foul odor and terrible taste.
The plant is so toxic that it can contaminate honey when bees alight on the petals. The tainted pollen can contaminate the entire hive.
Ancient healers utilized the plant, in very small amounts, to treat ailments such as madness and melancholy, as well as epilepsy. A philtre was created and offered to the patient, who then consumed the mixture.
Other names of the dangerous plant include: Jamestown Weed, Thorn Apple, Devil’s Trumpet, and Mad Apple
Unfortunately, the taste an odor haven’t always been enough to discourage human consumption. In 1995, 5 young men chewed the seeds of a Jimsonweed plant. All were rushed to the hospital. Several were hospitalized for days. They reported believing there were bugs crawling under their skin, several believed they were dead, and the remainder witnessed their body parts strewn about the room.