Thursday 1 April 2021

a baneful herb

In a quite round-about way, I learned the identity of these plants that appear in the woods in early spring: hellebore (Nieswurz) also called Lenten roses due to the timing is a type of buttercup that is mildly toxic and eschewed by most, distasteful and deadly in sufficient quantities and dangerous to touch. Sometimes recommended as a purgative in traditional medicine, the plant can also cause a host of horrible things including the birth-defect of cyclopia, characterised by the failure to properly divide the eyes into two orbits, tinnitus, vertigo and slowing heart rate, and though commended in Greek mythology as a curative for madness and possession including releasing the princesses of Argos from the spell of the Maenads and the inducements of Dionysus modern witchcraft does not endorse its use beyond the wild and ornamental.