Nightshade family (Solanaceae)
Identification: Belladonna is a three to five foot tall perennial
plant with a leafy, smooth, branched stem. It possesses fuzzy ovate leaves grown
to be about eight inches. The leaves growing from the plant the first year of
planting are shown to be larger than those of following years. Belladonna grows
bell-shaped flowers of a bluish purple color or a dull red color. The berries
that grow after the preceding flowers are approximately one half inch in length
1 centimeter in diameter, and shiny black or purple in color. Belladonna is
native to Europe and Asia.
Cultivation and Propaganda: Belladonna grows vigorously in the United
States. During the winter it subsides waiting for the spring to call back the
slumbering plant from it's roots. Belladonna favors well drained and well limed
soil kept consistently moist. It can be kept in full sunlight or partial shade.
In cases of extreme sunlight the growth rate will diminish. In areas of extreme
heat and sunlight, belladonna can be grown between rows of beans for shade.
Belladonna is generally dispersed by seed and sown in flats during the first
half of March. Germination takes a month to six weeks so an early start is
essential. When the sprouts grow to be an inch high the should be moved to
eighteen inches apart. Water them well directly after transplant and keep them
shaded for several days. The first year the plants will only grow to be a foot
and a half tall and flower in September. At this time the leaves and the tops
may be collected but it is warned not to entirely strip the plant. When the
winter begins the plant should be moved to two to three feet apart as to prevent
overcrowding. In June cut the plants down to an inch above the ground during
flowering. In good years the plant will be ready for harvesting a second time in
September. The autumn of the fourth year the roots of the plant may be collected
to make way for new planting. You can also plant belladonna by means of cutting
the green branch tips and using them to start new plants.
Harvesting: All parts of the belladonna plant should be dried quickly
in the sun, directly after harvesting. Any wilted or discolored leaves should be
discarded as they contain little or no alkaloids and therefore serve no real
Snails, aphids and white flies are the pests most
annoying to the growing
Belladonna plant. As with all potentially harmful plants, belladonna should
be kept out of reach of children, especially as they are more susceptible to
Uses: There are several medical uses of belladonna. The name (fair
lady) comes from the story of the Italian ladies who would drop the juice in
their eyes to enlarge their pupils and make their eyes more dazzling. Atropine,
a chemical found in belladonna is used by modern eye doctors to dilate the
pupils to they can examine the retina. Two other substances found in belladonna,
scopolamine and hyoscyamine, are used in a number of antispasmodics used to
treat intestinal disorders like diarrhea, irritable colon, and peptic ulcers.
Preparation: To use belladonna for it's
hallucinogenic qualities one
would (after reading the following warning) soak the plant in rubbing alcohol
for a couple of days and then evaporate it by means of an electric grill. Once
the stuff evaporates into a gunny resin take about one fifth of a gram (0.2
grams). Have someone trust worthy around and the number of a hospital with a
poison control center. Someone once ate 2 berries and the only reaction was very
dry, unpleasant mouth and nose. Another person took 6 berries and it was only
worse, nothing more. It is said that the berries can have very highly varying
concentrations so it might be possible to OD on a usually harmless dose.
WARNING: Belladonna is an atropine based plant and is a severe
hallucinogen, actually more like a deterrent. It is not recommended for
stupid high schoolers looking for a buzz. All concepts of reality are lost
under the affects of belladonna. Belladonna trips are a billion times more real
than anything you've ever seen under the influence of any other hallucinogen. I
have read that you could be "sitting down watching tv at one moment and
next you see your dead grandmother next to you on the sofa asking for more
tea" a person also said, "I personally took a bath with over million
insects and did not know that this is not real". I do not recommend the
abuse of this plant. Witches use this plant on sabbath to envision Satan himself.
You could see something good, or something evil. Belladonna is extremely toxic.
Relatively small amounts can cause coma and/or death. The ripe berries are sweet
and poisonous and to be kept away from children and pets. The places belladonna
takes you, you were not meant to go.
branching herb growing to 5 feet tall, with 8 inch long ovate
leaves. The leaves in first-year plants are larger than those of
older plants. The flowers are bell-shaped, blue-purple or dull
red, followed by a shiny, black or purple 0.5 inch berry. Native
of Europe and Asia.
Propagation: Belladonna is hardy throughout the U.S., dying back
in winter and rising from the root in spring. It prefers a
well-drained, well-limed soil in full sun or part shade. The soil
should be kept moist at all times. Plants exposed to too much sun
will be stunted. In hot sunny areas it may be grown between rows
of beans to shade it.
Belladonna is most
frequently propagated by seed, sown in flats in early March.
Because the seeds take 4-6 weeks to germinate, they should be
started early. When the seedlings are an inch or so high they may
be set out 18 inches apart. The seedlings should be well watered
just after transplanting, and shaded for several days. First-year
plants will grow only 1.5 feet high and will flower in September.
At this time the leaves and tops may be collected, but the plants
should not be entirely stripped. The plants should be thinned to
2.5 to 3 feet apart at the approach of winter, or overcrowding
will occur the second year. In June of the second year the plants
may be cut to 1 inch above the ground when they are in flower. In
good years a second crop will be ready for harvesting in
September. The roots may be harvested in the autumn of the fourth
year, and new plants set in their places. Belladonna may also be
propagated by cuttings of the green branch tips.
I have found that
snails, aphids, and white flies are among this plant's worst
enemies. Small children are much more susceptible to belladonna
poisoning than adults, and should be kept away from it.
parts harvested as described above should be dried quickly in the
sun. Wilted or discolored leaves may be discarded, as they
contain only small amounts of alkaloids.