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Atropa belladonna
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 purpose.

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 poisoning.

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.





Atropa belladonna L.;

Nightshade family (Solanaceae)

A perennial 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.

Cultivation and 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.

Harvesting: The 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.