Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sacred Respect


Sacred Datura, Jimsonweed, Jamestown weed, Thornapple, Devil's Trumpet
West Odessa, Texas


The Sacred Datura, the dramatic flower painted several times by Georgia O'Keefe, is as lovely and dramatic in the bud, as seen here. It has also a deserved nasty reputation. I read recently that the name Jimsonweed derives from "Jamestown weed," which in turn comes from a story about the Jamestown settlers who visited Native American prostitutes. The women prepared for them a "spinach" that was no spinach, but the cooked leaves of the datura. When the men succumbed to its halucinigentic effects, they robbed them.

It's hard to know if that story is true, so rampant are the tales of its various effects. One I heard first hand was from an Odessa gardener. She had an amazingly diverse garden, and in it she had several varities of Jimsonweed. She recounted how a neighbor's son one day secretly stole seeds and ate them. He went into seizures and spent the next three weeks in intensive care in a coma. That's enough for me to never want to try it.

Even while taking its photo, I felt a healthy respect.

5 comments:

The Gossamer Woman said...

It's a very beautiful flower anyway, no matter how dangerous it is and I believe every word of it. You're a good photographer, Debi.

Bobbie said...

It smells heavenly and lives up to the name "Angel Trumpet", beautiful always. So fascinating to watch one unfurl.

jomamma said...

It is a gorgeous flower. When I was a kid growing up in Odessa, some older kids almost died when they had dried and smoked the leaves.

HLIP said...

It's beautiful. I love the soft blue bokeh you have in this shot.

Frances said...

They are very popular here. Angel Trumpets because they herald the gates of heaven. I keep finding them growing as weeds, from the 'compost' I get from the local farm! I have to pull them up because I have beautiful curious nephew who visits us when they are in bloom.
happy birthday. love ya - you rock