Atropa belladonna - Botanic Garden - Leipzig, GermanyAtropa belladonna (2)Atropa belladonna (3)Atropa belladonna (4)

Atropa belladonna – Most dangerous in Central Europe

Atropa belladonna – This plant is considered the most dangerous in Central Europe. Its all parts are very toxic.

  • Deadly dose: 10 – 12 fruits
  • Death: in few hours
  • Poison: atropine, hyoscyamine
  • Aftermath: nervous system and heart rate weakness, stopping breathing
  • Where it grows: most of Europe, some places in Africa and Asia
  • Occurrence in Poland: yes

The big danger lies in the fact that its shiny fruits can be easily confused with edible forest fruits. Man can poison not only through direct consumption, but also through goat’s milk or meat, if animal earlier ate it. Typical symptoms of poisoning are dilated pupils, an accelerated pulse or redness on the face. There may also be hallucinations and loss of consciousness.

History of the plant:
Atropa belladonna was a component of shampoo drinks and ointments, because after applying to the skin it caused hallucinations – a man seemed to be able to fly.
In ancient Rome, the wives of Emperor Augustus and Claudius poisoned them with a shout. Medieval women applied drops of juice to their eyes. It was to guarantee them beautiful, large eyes. In this way, they risked not only conjunctivitis and eye deterioration, but death as well. Atropine in eye tests doctors are using today.

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