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Monday, July 6, 2009

THE LOWLY JEMSEN WEED (VARIOUS SPELLINGS)

Kind hearts, this lovely white trumpet flower is deceptive. This is a dangerous flower/plant. My grandfather used to grub them up in the pasture. "That damned thang will kill a cow,' he said. I grub it up every year, but it is a persistent plant and will come back again and again. Sometimes at night, my front yard glows with the huge white flowers. Of course, when the sun rises, the flowers deflate and hang down like flaccid balloons which has prompted me to call this huge plant my "condom tree." I did a bit of research and it is an hallucinogenic. It will also kill you by paralyzing your lungs and halting your bodily functions. People who ingest its seeds do strange things, like strip naked, climb trees and befoul themselves. Oh, my! And old Native American warning states: "Take one seed and sleep deeply; take two seeds and never wake up."
I probably need a bit of excitement in my life, but I think I will be content to simply give it a space in which to grow. I also give it a wide berth. Lovely, isn't it!

9 comments:

  1. Gary, do you know Peter Loewer's book "Thoreau's
    Garden: Native Plants for the American Landscape"? He's got a chapter in there devoted to the jimsonweed. Just a few pages but amusing and informative. According to one historian, during Bacon's Rebellion in 1667 the plant was
    "gathered very young for a boil'd salad, by some soldiers sent thither, to pacifie the troubles of
    Bacon; and some of them eat plentifully of it,
    the effect of which was a very unplesant comedy;
    for they turn'd natural Fools upon it for Several Days: One would blow up a Feather in
    the Air; another would dart Straws at it with much Fury; and another stark naked was sitting up in a Corner, like a Monkey, grinning and
    making Mows at them; a Fourth would fondly kiss, and paw his Companions, and sneer in their faces, with a countenance more antick, than any
    in a Dutch Doll." Reading that takes me back to a certain park in San Francisco back in the day.

    jq

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    Replies
    1. SINGING ---on a warm San Francisco night!

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  2. Yeah, I recognize that quote. I think it on Wikapedia (sp). Took you back to ole' S. F. did it? Well, most things do, including sunrises, mountain ranges, tight skirts and any '70's ballad. I fear that someday some random event will take you back (with flowers in your hair) to S. F. and you won't return.

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  3. I don't think I'll have to return anywhere. Look
    around, it's all coming here. You know, growing
    up in California was like growing up in the future many of us wanted to avoid. Every day in
    every way I see more evidence that LA (and San
    Francisco) is coming to get us. I'm an expert on
    this. Afterall, I'm one of the first 200 McDonalds customers on the planet earth, ever. Been eating those french fries maybe longer than any other human being. Don't talk to me about
    the Hell's Angels. They got started in my home town, too. I love these mountains but eventually
    mountains too are washed to the sea. But we got a little time.

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  4. Oh, Gawd! You are off and running. Do you want to see Kwaidan (sp) tomorrow night? I think maybe David Brewen might want to see it too. Maybe Steve.
    Gary

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