Monday, March 30, 2009

Poisonous plants

My Mom told me a tragic story that she heard upon first moving to Florida: A family had a cookout and roasted hot dogs on sticks from the deadly oleander plant - and they all died. As it turns out, this is an urban legend that dates back to 1886! The cautionary tale has been told in the U.S. since the 1950s and often involves a troop of unfortunate Boy Scouts.
There was a similar true story in the Washington Post last summer in which members of a family suffered nausea, dizziness, and hallucunations after eating some homemade stew. Instead of an herb from the back garden, noxious jimson weed had been added. The six family members who ate the stew ended up in the hospital, but recovered.

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