When Plants Attack
I am reconsidering whether I should keep growing certain perennials (and other plants) that injure me.
First on the list are the hardy Opuntias I grew from seed that are in a prominent spot in one of my perennial beds. These have sizable and very painful spines that stick you when you attempt to weed around them. And it's not like I can't enjoy safer Opuntias - I have one that's completely spineless and has similar yellow flowers. So why I am reluctant to dig out the vicious form?
Then there are the ornamental grasses that slice up my hands and arms if they get a chance, particularly when I am trimming them back in fall/winter and forget to protect myself with long sleeves.
I like roses, but the ratio of flowers to thorns better be high enough to justify my growing them.
I also have a Phoenix theophrastii (Cretan date palm) I grew from seed which is now a three-footer in a pot in my office. This palm has leaflets with very sharp, pointy tips on which I have impaled myself numerous times. It's a handsome plant, but vicious.
Are there things you grow despite their ability to injure you?
*I have so far resisted the temptation to order seeds of Loasa species from Chiltern. In addition to supposedly having ornamental flowers, the entire plant is covered with painful stinging hairs. Nice for deterring intruders, maybe, but what if you forget your gloves when handling them?