atropa belladonna

bob123howMarch 20, 2007

I want desparately to grow an atropa belladonna in my room as a houseplant, but cannot find anyone who sells it, even online. I know it's a fairly common garden plant, that happens to be one of the most poisonous plants in the western hemisphere. Is there any nursery anywhere that will send it to me that you folks in gardenweb world know of? Or perhaps, where it grows wild and I can take a cutting, or just rip it out of the ground. thanks

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Why do you want to grow it so 'desperately'?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 4:45AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Lucy, my thoughts exactly? It's not a plant I'd keep anywhere near a place that others could get 'accidental' access too. I keep other poisonous plants behind a locked fenced in garden gate up here!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 7:54AM
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I love plants, particularly orchids, but plants in general, more than anything else. If I had children, I think its safe to say I'd take better care of my plants than my offspring. Furthermore, being the misguided college student that I am with too much time and money, I am in the process of turning my bedroom into a botanical garden of sorts (much to my roommates dismay). Finally, its gorgeous, and theres such a rich history surrounding the plant that it will surely make for a good conversation piece.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 8:49AM
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nanw_4wi(4/SW WI)

I'm not sure you'd be *able* to grow this successfully indoors (it would likely attract spider mites and eventually succumb to them) but I guess you could try?
Most of the plants in this family are very easily grown from I'd suggest looking for seeds rather than plants.

I just googled atropa belladonna seeds and the first two hits were seeds for sale.

If you do choose to grow it, maybe you should post a sign by it so others will leave it alone?! LOL!!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 2:06PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Bob, I've been growing plants since my childhood. Some have been pretty poisonous. I'd really give it a good think over before I planted this in a dorm bedroom. It's actually very easy to grow from seed, does not do well indoors and possibly can kill. College kids can be pretty dumb (not you, but your friends) I'd wait until I had my own place if I were you. You could wind up with manslaughter charges against you!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 2:42PM
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I heard that it takes over a month to germinate from seed, and even then there's no guarantee. I was planning on keeping it relatively small and growing it under lights/my windowsill. No one would ever be around the plant with the exception of my roommate and myself. The spider mtes though, I hadn't thought about that. Although, I have a lot of plants in here and only one of them has mealeybugs, and even they haven't spread to the others, as I've tried to keep them in check. So far the response on GW has been overwhelmingly negative, so I've got to take that into account. It's just so tempting, and beautiful... I suppose they don't call it devil's weed for nothing.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 3:03PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I don't know this plant, but have heard of it & its dangers a bit. If you're in a college dorm, your college may have prohibitions against doing something like this (growing a known poison) & the potential legal liability to both you & college.

Likely that even if you're not worried they will be, they are responsible for other peoples' children even tho' same children are supposed grown & well on their way to becoming mature adults.

Seems to me there's about a zillion other plants you might try to grow instead?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 4:04PM
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I found this plant growing out in a field once and planted it in my garden at home. The plant was jimsonweed or Datura but it still contains the alkaloid that is found in belladonna that makes it so dangerous, atropine.
I am currently a nursing student and i know that this compound is used routinely in medical practice. I also know how college is. Now i'm not saying that you plan on using belladonna to get high but it is a possibility, so allow me to inform you on atropine a bit.
First of all i'll start by saying that atropine does not leave the body quickly so its effects can be cumulative. Atropine blocks a certain part of your brain from exerting its effects. This leads to a host of problems. "Cant see, cant spit, cant pee, cant sh*t. This stuff dialates your pupils which can lead to blurred vision, and drys your bodily secretions which makes all of the other things hard to do. It can also interfere with swallowing. It also will cause your heart rate to rise. If you take more the side effects get worse eventually leading to convulsions, coma and death.
Now i just want to say again that you never said you wanted to take it to get high but i do know how college is. So if you do plan on using it to party, my advice is to just skip it and stick to the more traditional partying substances. This is not one of the fun drugs.
Sorry Bob123how if this is not what you intended to do and you find my post offensive, But i am going to school for nursing and have been around atropine and i felt that i had to say something.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 10:31PM
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Gosh, what a bunch of negative nancies. And despite my knowing full well I will never see any of you, and shouldn't feel the need to explain my master plan, if you will, I do. I've got about 30 potted plants on my windowsill and under supplemental light along my windowsill. I have orchids, succulents, bromaliads, herbs, and a few ivy. In my quest for amazing exotic plants for my "Bob U. Botanical Gardens" I stumbled across the Belladonna. It's so beautiful, with such a rich history, which, by the way, has been cultivated for centuries. (the plant, not the history) And thought: "Gee what an amazing foil. On one half of my room beautiful, lovely , nice plants, and on the other a garden with roots straight to hell." If the belladonna works out, I want to get some wormwood, and maybe a poppy or two to round it out.
As far as eating it goes... I know inside and out the dangers of the alkaloid producing plants. Now, I consider myself a fairly seasoned drug user, but there is a line that I know exists, and respect my mortality, low tolerance for pain and discomfort, and sanity. If I want to have a good time I have plenty of tricks up my sleeve that don't contain atropine. I know everyone here in GW world only has the best of intentions, and rest assured, I do too. More than anything, honestly, its a conversation piece. "Hey, I've got a garden with roots straight to hell, wanna see a picture of it?"
There, now is that really that absurd? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think the whole idea is quite creative.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:23PM
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You have no idea how much i love the term "negative nancy" :)
Anyway being a plant that is found in a temperate clime belladonna might not do well on a long term basis indoors. I remember someone saying that tropical plants do well in the home because they dont necessarily require the down time that temperate plants require. I dont know this from my own experience though.
But belladonna is a relative of both the tomato and potato, which i'm thinking you may already know, so perhaps if either of those can be grown inside indefinetly then maybe belladonna can too. Worse that can happen is that it peters out after a while. Well that and the smell that belladonna foilage has...yuck!
That room of yours sounds interesting though. I wonder which side of the room will end up looking better once its all fleshed out.

P.S. Do you plan on including the apple tree in the "Hell" side of the garden? hehe

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 11:45PM
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Bob's willingness/readiness/eagerness to find a plant growing somewhere & 'just rip it out of the ground' kind of says it all for me.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 7:13AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Riptide had a good point about difficulties with growing temperate plants indoors, but it could work for a least a while, although I have no specific knowledge of this plant. I personally think you're courting disaster growing something this poisonous indoors, but that's my personal opinion.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 7:57AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Bob, The "hell" garden is a neat idea. I've got some pretty poisonous plants in my garden, but like I said earlier they are not easy access, they're behind locked gates. Too many kids, and adults like to taste things in the garden. To me it's not worth the chance of accidental poisoning. If you do grow a plant such as this one word will get out and you may wind up with someone deciding to "try" it while you're out. I lived through the 60's and 70's and did my share of partying, I know of people who used datura for a high and I can't begin to tell you how sick they got, high yeah, but more than that they came pretty close to death. All because they "heard" from someone it'll give you a trip, no one ever told them it wouldn't be a pleasant trip.
Please just be careful if you keep this kind of stuff in a dorm room. You seem smart, it's the others that you need to worry about.
Good luck, and yes I do like the idea of the opposing gardens!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 8:08AM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)


Well this Negative Nancy notices that you still haven't said whether you are in a dormroom on campus or your home home off campus. This makes a BIG difference.

As a life-long artist I'd never be the one to go against creativity, but when up against bad judgment (to be charitable & diplomatic), creativity takes a back seat.

Yeah I too caught the comment abt 'ripping it out of the ground. Seasoned gardeners do not generally believe in that Bob, bad karma & bad manners.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 2:53PM
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I live in my own apartment, off campus. And the ripping out of the ground comment was in jest, I was frustrated by my inability to procure it by conventional means. Obviously, I wouldn't go to a random field and hack it out of the ground because A. it probably wouldn't survive the transplant and likely be too large and B. that's a stupid thing to do as I'm sure I would get some of the sap on myself and would rue the day I thought to go out and find it. I'm trying to avoid both of these things (the death of a plant and atropine poisoning). Looks like the Negative Nancys have been joined by some Literal Larrys. I'm suprised and a little flattered that this has turned into such a local controversy. I have an aloe plant too, thats really poisonous should it get eaten. Why no uproar about the aloe?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 3:25PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

OMG, ALOE!!!!!!

LOL, Bob, it's concern that's all.
I run with scissors and keep bleach near the washer. Just be safe buddy.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:44PM
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A really toxic aloe? Hmmm . . . I hope you'll post the name of that one.

This is all getting WAY too much for me. I think I'll go brew myself a cup of oleander tea. Anyone care to join me? Bob? ;)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:57PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Windeaux, while you're brewing the tea I'll roast us some nice castor beans...LOL
WAY, WAY too much.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 6:01PM
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The Wikipedia entry for deadly nightshade says that "the devil has the exclusive rights to plant and harvest this plant." I imagine that means you have to ask *him* for seeds. And, presumably, he can reclaim the plant at any point if he thinks it's being mistreated. Possibly not worth the effort.

If we're making a party out of this, with the tea and roasted beans and stuff, can I bring the crudités? I'm thinking maybe Dieffenbachia sticks with peanut butter.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 8:52PM
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A party? YES!!! The creative food pairings suggested by chaz & mr s are absolutely to die for! The combo of Dieff stix, roasted castor bean crunch & Oleander brew are sure to be drop-dead delish!

Perhaps someone will offer to whip up a special batch of fudge, Foxglove Fudge, to share with our host Bob. He exhibits keen interest both in flowering plants having unique properties AND in alliterative nomenclature, so it would be exceedingly sweet of us to serve the fudge as an ultimate grand finale, don'cha think?

As you might have suspected, Bob, the Nancys and Larrys aren't the only lurking loonies here. We have a few Macabre MacKenzies and Ghoulish Garths as well . . . But do come to our little get-together -- it'll be the party to end all parties & the snacks will be diabolically delectable. You can bet your life on it, Bob.

You might think all of this is a joke, but we're dead serious. Heh heh heh . . .

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 6:16AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

And for dessert, chocolate dipped Datura!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 9:47AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Boy Bob,
You've stirred up quite the Hornet's nest here.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Indeed; I'm an astonished Andy.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 11:33PM
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soooo Bob!

Have you had any luck growing this inside? If so, what wisdom can you share?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 1:27AM
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Fair dinkum! I had to sign up and join the festivities...
But seriously, does anyone know an alkaloid plant that is not harmful? I want one... where are they?? :-D

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hi Flaxy, welcome to Gardenweb!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:30AM
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