A few weeks ago I noticed this beautiful vine creeping up our pool deck, dripping with clusters of pretty purple flowers. I hadn’t noticed it before, probably because I spend much more time back there now that we have the chicken coop set up near the backside of the pool.
Everyday this vine looked more and more captivating. The dainty, deep purple blossoms transformed from a bell-shape to a spindly star-shape before developing berries.
I’m still a novice when it comes to ID-ing native plants here, so I made a note to do a bit of research online to see if I could spot it.
Of course, I got distracted and pulled up my facebook feed instead… And lo and behold, a fellow gardener had posted a pic of this very plant on a local gardening group page asking for an ID from other members of the group!
I scanned the comments below the post:
Do Not Eat!
Rip it out ASAP.
Hmmm… Turns out this wild vine has quite a reputation. Little did I know, those budding berries are literally known as the Devil’s Berries! This plant is known by several names which also include Deadly Nightshade, Death Cherries, Belladonna and even just Beautiful Death. Whoa!
When I think of Belladonna, I always remember one my favorite chick flicks from the 90’s, Practical Magic with Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock. There’s a scene where the sisters poison an abusive & belligerent BF with a few drops of belladonna in his tequila.
And I’d imagine it was a staple in Hannah’s greenhouse in the more recent sinister series, Dexter.
It’s a bit creepy to realize a weed in my yard has been featured in movies and TV shows as a killer.
This baby was responsible for medieval chemical warfare and annointed poisonous arrows centuries ago. And it’s an essential ingredient in a variety of modern day medicines.
Since I am not an evil sorceress, botanist or pharmacist, I’d really rather NOT have this dangerous plant growing where my kids play and the chickens roam free. So, I think I’ll take the advice from fellow gardeners and rip it right out!