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Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

Saturday 28th July 2012

There are people who talk to their plants in order to get them to grow better. Some of them actually believe that what they say has a genuine affect, others simply think it can’t do any harm and it may do good.

It strikes me that this is very much like people’s attitude to homeopathy; some believe passionately and others think it may be worth a try. Come to think of it, one of the people best known for allegedly talking to plants is also a supporter of homeopathy.

An aside. A few weeks ago I received a request from a homeopath who wanted to use some of the pictures from this site. She promised to acknowledge my copyright and provide links to this site. I replied that I could not give permission because I felt it might be seen as an endorsement for homeopathy. I was very polite and didn’t mock but assumed that would be the end of the matter. Immediately, however, she replied asking could she use them without acknowledgement.

I almost responded by saying I didn’t understand why a homeopath would want pictures of plants given that plants don’t form any part of homeopathic potions (syn. water) but decided just to ignore her.

Still, back to talking to plants. It is not something I do but, if I did, I would be in the cynical camp telling plants that they’d better do some good growing or they’d end up on the compost heap.

Actually, I’m more of the ‘actions speak louder than words’ type. I wrote last year that my Aconitum napellus, monkshood, had taken to coming up well and then dying off before flowering. Not having the gardening knowledge to do whatever is needed to get them to perform properly, I bought three new plants that flowered very well early in May. As a result, it no longer mattered what happened to the other plants.

This year, two of my three older monkshoods have produced flowers.


Aconitum napellus, monkshood

There’s been a bit of a race going on between getting the flowers out and the plant dying back but the flowers have just won.

Aconitum napellus, monkshood 

It might be tempting to conclude that my implied threat to the plants had encouraged the older plants to up their game. And, in the past, when superstition had the upper hand over knowledge, that might have been a reasonable thing to do. But, these days, there’s really no excuse for clinging to irrational beliefs. 

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