Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Don't Blame Me, Blame the Water Company

Did you know that there are some plant that are illegal to grow on your lawn?

Dumb question. I'll try again.

Did you know that a random poisonous plant can suddenly spring up in your yard, and you didn't plant it?

This happened to me over the summer. I feel blessed, truly blessed.

The saga began last winter when we had a brief spell of below-freezing weather. Soon thereafter I noticed water trickling down the street from under my sidewalk. It was a water main leak.

Thank goodness the doggone thing was on water company property, and not my own, because they came and fixed it. But in the process, they tore up my front lawn and did an indifferent job of re-landscaping it.

(I didn't bug them about it. My upholstery? I would have sued. My lawn? Meh.)

Some time in June I noticed a rather large and foreign plant growing in the bald spot. I had no idea what it was.


Within just a few weeks, my mystery plant had grown to this size and was sporting these beautiful white blossoms that opened at night. My friend Maebius correctly identified the plant as Datura stramonium, aka jimson weed, a highly poisonous hallucinogen in the nightshade family.

While Mr. J pleaded fruitlessly for me to chop down the charming little vegetable, I did some research. I learned that jimson weed seeds can lie dormant in dirt for more than a century, and, if they are roused from the depths, can sprout and grow.

So while Mr. J saw a poisonous plant, poorly placed curbside where any tot could pull and eat its blooms, I saw a throwback to a time when Snobville was a wild paradise of native life, unhampered by asphalt, concrete, and tract houses.

This was one of the few occasions where I prevailed. My jimson weed, which I named Omar, lived long enough to bear seed pods. When those ripened, I heeded my better judgment and pulled the plug. School was just about to start, you know, and lots of kids walk past my house.

Some time later, I attended a Pagan Pride Day talk given by a Witch who uses flying potions.

Oh my goodness, have you heard of these things? You dab on a little goo, and whoa ... only the strong survive!

Datura stramonium is one of the plants used occasionally in flying potions.

Might have been a time, oh, when I was 16 or so, that I might have liked to experiment with a Datura flying potion. Nowadays, thank you very much, I'll leave it to the experts. All the same, I can't find it in my heart to deny life to a plant just because you can't eat it. Look at those blooms!

I also find it compelling that the seeds lay dormant in the deep dirt for who-knows-how-long before they roared back to life. I do wish some people could do that. There are folks I miss very deeply, and if the water company could just re-animate them, that would be swell.

I gave one of Omar's seed pods to a Witch and kept another for myself. My back yard is dedicated to native flora, and I am sentimental. Omar was resurrected. His descendants have a right to reclaim their land.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Beautiful but deadly! But gotta say I'm with Mr J on this one, Anne. Keeping that plant within reach of neighbourhood tots was a lawsuit waiting to happen! Glad it all turned out well, however.

Anne Johnson said...

I do feel like I dodged fate, except that you don't often see kids randomly shoving plant life into their faces, and in Snobville the ones that are young enough to try it are always in the hands of a competent parent. Not going to do it again, though, for sure!


I'm 73 and I would have tried it..under adult supervision of course..hahahh

Janie Junebug said...

I'm glad you kept Omar. I was a child many years ago. I never pulled anything off of a plant and ate it. I still haven't.


Jono said...

Send it to congress and the senate and tell them it is an herbal male enhancement tea. You'll be a hero!

e said...

It was the right thing to do, given the location. I'm glad you saved a couple of seed pods, though... who knows when those will come in handy!