THE POISON GARDEN website      Arum maculatum berries on a Cannabis leaf 

Search thepoisongarden.co.uk:

This free script provided by JavaScript Kit

Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

April 2013

Current Entries

2016

Previous Entries

2015
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011

Monday 29th April 2013

Chapter 6 of my book ‘Is That Cat Dead?’ is called ‘Have You Got Something Undetectable?’ the question that summarises all the questions people have about the use of poisonous plants as murder weapons. There are other ways to phrase what is really the same question and I end the chapter by saying;

Had the question been put as ‘What would you suggest as a good murder weapon?’ my answer would have been ‘None of the plants’.

It is this notion that there are better ways of killing people than using plant poisons that I want to explore, today, in the light of four recent stories...more

Saturday 27th April 2013

I was wrong and I thought I should take almost the first opportunity to say ‘I was wrong’. I say ‘almost’ because I’ve waited a couple of days to see what developed and my waiting has been rewarded.

A week ago, I wrote about the developments in the ‘ricin letters’ affair in the USA and said the arrest of a suspect ‘suggests that this particular storm in a teacup will quickly abate’. Since then, however, the story has taken a surprising twist and become of much more interest to the media...more

Monday 22nd April 2013

When I worked in Zambia, in the 1970s, head office sent over a young high-flyer MBA to conduct a strategic review of the Zambian subsidiary. His conclusion was that the company should be sold and the money returned to the UK. He made this pronouncement as if no-one had ever thought of it before and completely ignored that foreign exchange rules in Zambia would have prevented the repatriation of the sale proceeds.

I mention this because it illustrates how someone of apparent intelligence can let that appearance slip by claiming to have an original idea that isn’t and making statements that reveal how little they know about their subject. So, today I want to write about Hassan Tahsin...more

Friday 19th April 2013

Until this week I’d never tasted Rhododendron.

I started tasting poisonous plants after reading divergent opinions about the taste of Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade. In ‘A Modern Herbal’, Mrs Grieve says the berries are insanely sweet but Frohne and Pfander, in ‘A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants’, say they are ‘sweetish but insipid’. There was only one way to resolve this dispute and I found, not for the first time, that Mrs Grieve got it wrong...more

Thursday 18th April 2013

The motto of the New York Times, "All the News That's Fit to Print", isn’t true. It certainly wasn’t true when first coined and even today, with the infinite capacity of online publishing it is still not true. No news organisation publishes all the news; that would simply be impossible. Instead editors make judgements about what news is of the most significance, today, and publish that. Stories that would never appear in November get extensive coverage on a quiet day in August and important stories get scant or no coverage if a significant event has taken place.

It is against this background that I’ve been looking at the coverage of the ‘white powder in letters’ story and the way it has developed since I wrote, briefly, about it yesterday..more

Wednesday 17th April 2013

Quite a short piece today because the only way to make it longer would be to engage in the sort of speculation it is written to criticise.

Reports from the USA say that mail addressed to Senator Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, was intercepted at a mail screening facility after testing positive for ricin, the toxin found in the seeds of Ricinus communis, castor bean plant...more

Thursday 11th April 2013

'Here's rosemary, that's for remembrance. So remember.'
Hamlet Act IV Scene 5

That quote appears on the A to Z page for Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary, along with a summary of some research suggesting that the smell of rosemary could actually enhance memory.

Knowing that I was surprised to read a Mail Online piece saying;

‘Researchers have found for the first time that essential oil from the herb when sniffed in advance enables people to remember to do things.’...more

Tuesday 9th April 2013

Last week, my Google alert for Jacobaea vulgaris (syn. Senecio jacobaea), common ragwort, took me to the newsletter of a website dealing with anything related to caring for horses. It is not clear who is behind this site. It describes itself as ‘Free Information, Help & Advise [sic] For Equestrians’ and it clearly is not linked to any magazine. The URL ‘housecarecourses’ suggests it may have something to do with someone offering training but there is nothing on the site to confirm that.

The newsletter was about preparing pasture for the summer grazing season and included a link to a page, on the same site, about ragwort. I’ll come back to the newsletter later but I wanted to start with the ‘All About Ragwort’ page because it is the first time I’ve come across a ‘horsey’ website trying to deal fairly with this subject...more

Saturday 6th April 2013

There’s an expression that is not as well-known as you might expect it to be. I say that because you would think that everyone would be aware that ‘If something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is’. The number of telephone calls I receive from a variety of conmen and shysters seeking to part me from my money, however, implies that there are enough people unaware of this principle to enable these ‘charlatans and mountebacks’ to operate profitably.

I also believe something which is possibly the complement of that expression rather that its opposite. That is ‘If something looks too bad to be true, it most probably isn’t’. I’m not sure when I first realised this but I remember that it became central to how I read news when some charity announced that a majority of adults reported that they had suffered abuse as children. I can’t recall, or find, the actual percentage but it was well above 50% and immediately made me incredulous. Sure enough, a little digging determined that ‘abuse’ had been defined to include verbal chastisement as well of all other forms of sanction applied to misbehaviour...more

Wednesday 3rd April 2013

Since I started this website, five years ago, I’ve wrestled with a style problem that may, I fear, lead to misunderstanding. Much of the plant information in the A to Z section of this site is concerned with the folklore attached to a plant or the ancient belief in its medicinal properties.

The style issue arises because I decided that, in general, including caveats with every piece of folklore would quickly become tedious for the reader. Thus, on the page for Buxus sempervirens, box, it says ‘Witches use knowledge as power and, hence, can tell you the numbers of every branch, every twig and every leaf of every plant’ without explaining that there is no such thing as a witch..more

Monday 1st April 2013

Folklore, all folklore not just that concerned with plants, has regional or national variations. Just yesterday, I mentioned the common name, ‘our saviour’s flannel’, is usually given to  Echium vulgare, viper’s bugloss, but, in Kent, it is Verbascum, mullein, that gets this name and the folklore associated with it.

So, today, for me is April Fools Day but for others it is All Fools Day. In the folklore I was brought up with, the playing of tricks on people is supposed to end at noon though there are plenty of people who believe it should last all day. They may be right, because you might think it would be called April Fools Morning if it was intended to finish at midday...more

Submit a Comment

You can send comments via the contact page but please be sure to say what blog entry you are commenting on.

Follow @thepoisongarden on Twitter

Full Entries

2016

Tuesday 25th October 2016 Saturday 20th August 2016 Sunday 6th March 2016 Wednesday 3rd February 2016

2015

Saturday 28th November 2015 Friday 27th November 2015 Monday 17th August 2015 Wednesday 15th July 2015 Friday 26th June 2015 Thursday 25th June 2015 Thursday 30th April 2015 Wednesday 29th April 2015 Wednesday 11th March 2015 Tuesday 3rd March 2015 Saturday 28th February 2015 Sunday 22nd February 2015

November 2014

 

Monday 24th November 2014 Saturday 8th November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

Wednesday 24th September 2014 Monday 1st September 2014

August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014 Saturday 16th August 2014 Tuesday 5th August 2014 Friday 1st August 2014

July 2014

Sunday 27th July 2014 Wednesday 23rd July 2014 Sunday 13th July 2014 Sunday 6th July 2014 Tuesday 1st July 2014

June 2014

Wednesday 25th June 2014 Tuesday 24th June 2014 Sunday 22nd June 2014 Monday 9th June 2014 Wednesday 4th June 2014

May 2014

Monday 26th May 2014 Sunday 18th May 2014 Wednesday 14th May 2014

April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014 Saturday 5th April 2014 Thursday 3rd April 2014 Tuesday 1st April 2014

March 2014

Monday 31st March 2014 Tuesday 25th March 2014 Friday 21st March 2014 Monday 17th March 2014 Sunday 16th March 2014 Tuesday 11th March 2014 Thursday 6th March 2014 Wednesday 5th March 2014 Saturday 1st March 2014

February 2014

Thursday 27th February 2014 Monday 24th February 2014 Wednesday 19th February 2014 Monday 17th February 2014 Thursday 13th February 2014 Monday 4th February 2014 Monday 3rd February 2014 Saturday 1st February 2014

January 2014

Thursday 28th January 2014 Thursday 23rd January 2014 Friday 17th January 2014 Wednesday 15th January 2014 Monday 13th January 2014 Thursday 9th January 2014 Tuesday 7th January 2014 Wednesday 1st January 2014

December 2013

Monday 23rd December 2013 Friday 20th December 2013 Tuesday 17th December 2013 Friday 14th December 2013 Thursday 12th December 2013 Sunday 8th December 2013 Wednesday 4th December 2013 Sunday 1st December 2013

November 2013

Friday 29th November 2013 Wednesday 27th November 2013 Tuesday 26th November 2013 Friday 22nd November 2013 Monday 18th November 2013 Friday 15th November 2013 Thursday 14th November 2013 Sunday 10th November 2013 Thursday 7th November 2013 Wednesday 6th November 2013 Friday 1st November 2013

October 2013

Thursday 31st October 2013 Sunday 27th October 2013 Wednesday 23rd October 2013 Monday 21st October 2013 Friday 18th October 2013 Friday 11th October 2013 Wednesday 9th October 2013 Tuesday 8th October 2013 Monday 7th October 2013 Tuesday 1st October 2013

September 2013

Monday 30th September 2013 Saturday 28th September 2013 Friday 27th September 2013 Monday 23rd September 2013 Sunday 15th September 2013 Monday 9th September 2013 Sunday 8th September 2013 Tuesday 3rd September 2013 Sunday 1st September 2013

August 2013

Tuesday 27th August 2013 Sunday 25th August 2013 Monday 19th August 2013 Friday 16th August 2013 Tuesday 13th August 2013 Friday 9th August 2013 Friday 2nd August 2013 Thursday 1st August 2013

July 2013

Saturday 27th July 2013 Sunday 21st July 2013 Wednesday 17th July 2013 Monday 15th July 2013 Saturday 13th July 2013 Friday 12th July 2013 Thursday 11th July 2013 Wednesday 10th July 2013 Tuesday 9th July 2013 Saturday 6th July 2013

June 2013

Friday 28th June 2013 Tuesday 25th June 2013 Friday 21st June 2013 Thursday 20th June 2013 Wednesday 19th June 2013 Saturday 15th June 2013 Sunday 9th June 2013 Saturday 8th June 2013 Saturday 1st June 2013

May 2013April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 blog June 2012 blog May 2012 blog April 2012 blog March 2012 blog February 2012 blog January 2012 blog December 2011 blog November 2011 blog October 2011 blog September 2011 blog August 2011 blog July 2011 blog June 2011 blog


IMPORTANT NOTE

The POISON GARDEN website is not connected with Alnwick Garden Enterprises Ltd and/or The Alnwick Garden Trust.