Thursday, 4 September 2008

Pretty but poisonous!

Mum's garden still has some lovely colour and inbetween the heavy showers I was able to take some photos.
This Cotinus is one of my favourite shrubs. The colour is great, but comes into its own in autumn when the red becomes even more vivid. This photo shows how lovely it is even before that autumn splash.

Mum's Begonias had a shaky start this year, but after nursing them through by potting them on gradually, they have really made a beautiful late splash of colour.

This young Goldfinch was still begging food from its parent on Mum's feeders. It will have to look after itself pretty soon though!

This Aconitum (common name of Monkshood) is a very pretty but very poisonous plant. I looked up in Flora Britannica by Richard Mabey (which is a great book to dip into) to see what it says about the plant. It may be a native to Britain, particularly in the South West and here is a quote from the book to demonstrate its poisonous properties.
"Even skin contact can be dangerous. In 1993, there was an epidemic of poisoning at a florist's in Wiltshire. A flower seller was treated for heart palpitations in intensive care after handling bunches of a poisonous flower.....staff at a flower shop in Salisbury suffered shooting pains after poison from a monkshood entered their bloodstreams. The shop's owner bought 150 bunches from a wholesaler, who has now withdrawn them. 'I wondered what was wrong - all of a sudden everyone was lethargic and getting pains.' "
I think I'll take care when handling these plants for my Mum!

7 comments:

Eve said...

Beautiful post Jenny! I love that Cotinus! I had monkshood in my garden. I never knew what it was. Then I found out. Almost two years ago I dug it out of the ground, making sure I got every bit. Everybody here understood that the plant was posionous, but two years ago tomorrow, Daisy Lu was born so out it came!

Mosura said...

Hope you took that Monkshood shot with a telephoto lens and a dust mask :-)

Mary said...

I can't imagine that red getting even more vivid! Lovely color! Lovely begonias and goldfinch. That monkshood sounds terribly dangerous!

Jenny said...

Hi Eve, yes, I might just completely ignore that Monkshood. Mum's garden is big enough that I can do that! Glad you got rid of yours.

Hi Alan
yes and a biological warfare suit as well! (-:

Hi Mary, I'll have to keep an eye on that Cotinus and post a photo when it changes hue. Glad you liked the post.

Roy said...

Lovely flowers Jen, you were very fortunate to get some photographic time in there. The weekend looks as bad as ever.

Jenny said...

Hi Roy. I optimistically thought that we're bound to get a dry autumn as we've had such a wet summer.....I'm still waiting.....

Adrian said...

Hey Wren!

Like most poisonous plants, Monshood has its medicinal uses....but you have to be VERY careful how you use it!! You would not want to end up dead instead of cured!!

Love, Adgi