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Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Tuesday 30th August 2011

On 14th August I blogged ‘Something is eating my deadly nightshade’. Well, I wasn’t wrong because something has gone on eating my deadly nightshade and it’s just a little bit annoying.

I’ve been waiting for the green immature berries to ripen so that I could get lots of pictures of the ripe, shiny black finished articles but it is apparent that I’m not going to be able to get any shots of the whole bush covered in berries.

There’s a second reason for that on top of the fact that something is getting to the berries as soon as they ripen. As anyone reading this in the UK knows this has not been a very good summer. It’s not just in my garden that it is noticeable that plants aren’t doing as well as they should. The Ricinus communis planted in the municipal flower beds in Duns are barely as tall as the surrounding Antirrhinums they should be dwarfing by now and, when I went to photograph a Taxus baccata hedge, today, it was very noticeable that the arils are much smaller than normal and there are fewer of them.

Luckily, I’ve been keeping an eye on my belladonna so I did manage to get some pictures of individual ripe berries as they appeared.

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

 

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

 

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

But, when I checked to see how things were progressing, this morning, I found these.

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

 

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

 

Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade

 

I think a bird would have gone off with the complete berry so my guess is that this is something smaller. You can, perhaps, see the very small seeds in the berry. Nature’s idea is that birds eat the berries and excrete the seeds at a distant from the parent plant. Obviously, whatever is eating my plant isn’t being helpful by ensuring that the seeds will only drop to the ground.

I’m not what you would call ‘green’ to any extent. My motivation for using less of the earth’s resources is entirely that it costs me less in things like heating bills, fuel for the car and the like. That said, I do, generally, like to see other life-forms prospering in my garden and not just because I save money on chemicals. But I would like to be able to negotiate a deal with the little blighters so that they only eat one part of a plant leaving me with the other parts to admire and photograph.