Thursday, June 23, 2011

Courting A Poisonous Notion

Some of my long time followers may remember these pictures. I posted them quite awhile ago, but now I have an update! These leaves are beautiful, with red veins running through them. My header is the center of a leaf with the sun directly behind it. Even the branches are deep red. And red is appropriate, because this plant is deadly poison. It is the Castor Bean plant, from which the poison Ricin is made. In 2007 it was ranked as the most poisonous plant in the world. It is one of the most feared weapons of mass destruction, because it is common and only takes a little to kill. Only one milligram is fatal to an adult, and one bean will kill a child. Those pretty red spiky pods are the seed capsules, and when they dry, they split apart with great force, you can both hear and see the seeds flying around everywhere. The beans are very pretty, I can see why a child might pick one up and eat it. In some places, these plants are illegal. And so this is where I found this plant last year: in front of the courthouse. It was huge, way taller than either Phil or me. The courthouse employees knew that it was a Castor Bean Plant, but when I informed them about the poison, they had no idea and were rather shocked.  So this spring, it is gone. They took the whole plant out and replaced it with some pretty little flowers. I like to think I had something to do with it.



"Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts...the tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body...it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
James 3

33 comments:

Bobbi said...

Wow, I didn't know that. Very interesting.

Doris Sturm said...

That is good that they removed that plant from a public place. Can you imagine what could have happened? I remember when my daughter was little and instinctively put everything she found on the ground in her mouth...those plants should be allowed to grow in an exhibit or private, fenced areas because they are certainly beautiful. I wonder if it affects the birds at all or if they know not to eat it?

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

We used to always have these plants around and never knew they were poisonous until a few years ago.I like the looks of them,but refuse to put them in my garden.

Stacey Dawn said...

Beauty can be deceiving...
can't it?

Good for you for speaking up about the plant - it's beautiful but would be so sad to hear of it hurting someone.

SquirrelQueen said...

It is a beautiful plant. While the seed are poisonous there are also many beneficial products that come from the Castor plant, castor oil for one. It's still good that they removed the plant from such a public area.

Mildred said...

Very interesting, Ginny. Thank you for sharing this info - I had no idea.

You and Phil have a lovely weekend.

S. Etole said...

I had no idea ... glad you were able to inform them and that they removed it.

Jeanne said...

Isn't it a shame that such a beautiful plant is deadly like that! The pictures with the veins and the sun shining though are outstanding! I'm glad they listened to you at the courthouse.

Joanne said...

Wow! I would never think that something so deadly could come from that! That is very scary...you know what? Ginny you might very well have saved someone's life! Thank God you knew about this plant! Blessings, Joanne

reanaclaire said...

Havent really seen these before.. they are poisonous?

Nature Rambles said...

I remember this post, Ginny. Can't imagine such a pretty plant can be packed with so much poison! I'm glad you brought about that change. In the couthouse garden. I'm wary of poisonous plants now. Particularly after reading about the datura that I'd brought from the wild.

Your header is fascinating!!

Ann said...

I read a book about a murder case in England. Looks lovely, but deadly.

hip-chick said...

I am glad that you were able to give them the information they needed to keep folks safe.
The tongue is a very powerful tool...but also, the ears are very important as well. Your tongue would had done no good had your words fallen on deaf ears.

Arti said...

Could never have thought that the plant is poisonous if I had not read your post, it just looks so beautiful. The header is absolutely gorgeous Ginny, this made for a very intriguing post.
Have a wonderful day:-)

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

I never knew anything about these plants before! Thanks for sharing!

Sandra said...

these grow really well in our climate and are pretty common, i had no idea they were so poison or any of this info. you did a really good thing telling them at the courthouse, it would be so easy for disaster to strike with a small child. this is mind boggling and it reminds me that the prettier the plant the more deadly it is, just like sin is so much prettier so it can grab us when we least expect it. great post, and thanks for the info. love the header

Chatty Crone said...

Again I learned something new today - I didn't know about that plant at all. And it is so pretty I can see why some kids would want to pick some flowers off.

I;m glad you weren't afraid and spoke up - you might have saved someone life! I think you had all to do with it.

Thanks.

From the Kitchen said...

I remember that plant! One of my upcoming posts on S.F. is "Wicked Plants". Stay tuned!!

Best,
Bonnie

Stephanie V said...

Good for you! Just think: that one voice can start something big.

DawnTreader said...

I remember you blogging about this plant before. Good thing they seem to have taken notice of your information!

Melanie said...

Very informative, Ginny. I had no idea about this plant. I'm sure your knowledge did have something to do with the plant being removed. You may have helped save the life of a curious little one. :)
Hope you have a great weekend.♥

Tracy said...

so glad they removed it...obviously a plant specialist did not plant it; or at least let's hope not!

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Ginny, We had a lot of this Castor Bean plant in the greater Los Angeles area, especially in Griffith Park when I was little in the 50's and 60's. I was raised with the knowledge not to touch that pant or Oleander or Poison Hemlock and a few others! Glad my father educated me as a child. Good that the plant was removed from that public area. Have a wonderful evening and a fabulous Saturday tomorrow!

Shug said...

wow...good for you Ginny...glad you informed them about this dangerous plant.
It is very pretty and I can see why people would want to have one in their yard..
Hey, I tried to send you an email, but I could never get it to go through using Outlook...would you send me your email address?
Thanks Ginny and I hope you and Phil enjoy a great weekend..
shug

Shanda said...

It always amazes me how many different flowers there are!

Jenn Erickson said...

What a beautiful plant! I've heard of Castor Oil, but never knew where it came from! Thank you for sharing Ginny!

Lynn said...

My goodness Ginny I am glad you spoke up and informed them at the court house of all places to find a deadly plant. Like everyone states, beauty can be deceiving. Aren't the leaves on the poinsetta plant deadly also? It seems to me that was an issue at my mom's when my girls were little. Now I have to look that up. Your post made me think of that. I cannot imagine a deadly plant with seed pods that rip open with force spreading those beans all over. Apparently they do not kill birds or they would have had a lawn full of dead ones after eating those beans. Very interesting post and the header is incredible. I too love to take the sun behind the leaves, but have never seen it done with a plant like this. Go Ginny! Thank you for praying for hubby's knee surgery. You have a lovely weekend.
Lynn

Fred Alton said...

What a powerful message! Too many saints allow "plants" in their lives because they are "so pretty" - but they are ignorant of the poison nature of the plant they are nourishing. Oh My!

Ann said...

It was really great to meet Lyn. Normally when we have visitors, I am unable to go to the auditorium because I always have a group of students. That day, I went to the second 1/2 of the first session, and had morning tea with her, then I went to the first 1/2 of the second session.

That week, my school put my article on the noticeboard and she asked for a copy.

I asked her who to approach for my next book, a children's book on family violence. She suggested a person who could be interested. This book is based on the incident I wrote in my book where I helped my student to find a safe house.

As for whether I would get her to illustrate my book, I have to pray about that.

The funny thing was when I asked if I could have a photo taken, she was very pleased. I asked the girls at work to come, and they refused. They said, we are not authors.

Ann said...

What a pretty plant it is. It's a shame that it's so poisonous. That's quite ironic that this was growing right outside the courthouse.

Deborah said...

WOW, You did have something to do with that! I'm glad you told them. I liked the James 3 verse. My daughter & husband can have a very sharp tongue sometimes and I should read this verse to them!! It makes total since to me. Some words can be like poison.
Have a nice weekend Ginny!
xxoo
Deborah

srp said...

That is really a good thing to know... and quite scary too.

Rose said...

I knew they were poison, but I didn't know they were THAT poisonous.