David and I went for a short walk down the road just to get a little exercise. We’ve been seeing these blooming all over the place around here. The common name is jimson weed. Even though this plant is extremely dangerous and can be potentially fatal, it has a beautiful flower and the most interesting seed pod.
One of the most interesting things I read about this plant relates to a story from Jamestown, Virginia:
“The James-Town Weed (which resembles the Thorny Apple of Peru, and I take to be the plant so call’d) is supposed to be one of the greatest coolers in the world. This being an early plant, was gather’d very young for a boil’d salad, by some of the soldiers sent thither to quell the rebellion of Bacon (1676); and some of them ate plentifully of it, the effect of which was a very pleasant comedy, for they turned natural fools upon it for several days: one would blow up a feather in the air; another would dart straws at it with much fury; and another, stark naked, was sitting up in a corner like a monkey, grinning and making mows [grimaces] at them; a fourth would fondly kiss and paw his companions, and sneer in their faces with a countenance more antic than any in a Dutch droll.
In this frantic condition they were confined, lest they should, in their folly, destroy themselves — though it was observed that all their actions were full of innocence and good nature. Indeed, they were not very cleanly; for they would have wallowed in their own excrements, if they had not been prevented. A thousand such simple tricks they played, and after eleven days returned themselves again, not remembering anything that had passed.” – The History and Present State of Virginia, 1705*
*[Beverley, Robert. “Book II: Of the Natural Product and Conveniencies in Its Unimprov’d State, Before the English Went Thither”. The History and Present State of Virginia, In Four Parts (University of North Carolina): p. 24 (Book II). Retrieved 2008-12-15.]