Friday, May 27, 2016

Stratford hall

One of several historical places I enjoy visiting is Stratford Hall in Westmoreland Va..
Birthplace of Robert E Lee 1807 - 1870
Our visit was on his birthday January this year.
turning the bend on the way to home we were greeted by ladies in period dress

I wonder how old that big one is,  it's huge.

Home of the Lees 1738

Home to two signers of Declaration of Independence - Richard Henry lee  and Francis Lightfoot Lee

Black Horse Harry Lee and wife Ann  lost a daughter - Margaret at age two, fell down the steps here and died.
Steps shown are replacements and I don't know when they were replaced.
There are some ghost stories associated with this home as with many of the historical homes I have visited.

rear steps

sharing with    Willy Nilly friday

A twist

I like the colors 
the graceful swirls

some colorful flowers  if you look close

I see cheery happy smile 

Sort of draws me in
My daughter is visiting in Fountain Colorado to  be in her very good friend's wedding.  The ladies in the wedding party had dinner.   They also the same evening for fun in Colorado Springs, Co. at the studio "Painting with a twist"  created some artwork .   Annette said it was so much fun getting together and creating.  I will have to look for a studio around here like this,  see what I can create and have a get together with friends at the same time.
I am sure she is loving it there as she used to live there when her husband was stationed in Fort Carson.  I miss visiting Colorado too.

Sharing with
Our World Tuesday

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wicked plants 2

Red Trillium.   I've come across the white trillium near creeks in the forest or damp woods, but not the red yet.
Called Wake Robin as it shows around the same time as Robins do in Spring.

Also called "Stinking Benjamin"
This frame info. about the plant, kinda hard to read so will print it here.
The stench of this spring flowering plant is key for it's survival.
Though humans may find the odor of Stinking Benjamin more closely resembles that of a dirty wet dog,  green flesh flies mistake it for rotting meat on a carcass, where they typically lay their eggs.
The flies act as pollinators, ensuring the plant proliferates.

Peace Lily -
I like having these in the home office they just grow well with out a lot of fuss.

Poison control receives more calls due to peace lily than any other housplant.  Along with Philodendrum and Dumb Cane, Peace lily contains calciam oxalate crystals.  Can cause skin irritation, nausea,  difficulty swallowing  and burning sensation in mouth.
Will have to make sure children do not have anything to do with this plant.   Toxic to animals.

Immature berries are most toxic -

Interesting that tomato at one time was rumored to summon werewolves.  A member of the nightshade family was peddled as edible. In 1500's were hesitant to try the yellow and green tomatos since they knew leaves and stems were toxic.  Two hundred years later Americans weren't convinced either, until fruit was smashed into a paste known as ketchup.

Highest concentration of toxins are the eyes of the potato.  Toxic potatos turn a sickening shade of green, so take caution.  I think I have eaten many that have had a slight hint of green on a small part after peeling.
Interesting that highest concentration of capsaicin is not found seeds of plants but in the white pith surrounding the seeds.

Eggplant once considered extremely dangerous because of it's relationship to the more poisonous members of the nightshade Family.  Less wicked than originally perceived.  Richer in nicotine than any other edible plant.

Both videos below are about the wicked plants      and more about some plants here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Some wicked plants

Steve and I took in the "Wicked Plants" at the science museum April, 2015. 
What took me so long posting this one? Been a year, but still interesting.

Science Museum of Virginia

Entrance to-Wicked Plants exhibit
A beautiful and seemingly harmless arrangement of flowers
or are they?

Oh yes before I begin.   We both purchased the book "Wicked Plants"

The author was signing books purchased that day and signing ours.

making our way around displays

Coloration in plants and it's warnings.
Red color of berries is also a way that plants use aposematism, letting potential eaters know that they are poisonous like the holly berry and there is a little snippet of the leaves and berry next to info.

No picture but if you look up Belladonna nightshade there are plenty to see

An interesting on here is called the  Teddy Bear Cholla plant.

also known as jumping cholla
becasue just the slightest touch will have a small arm of the plant seemingly jump off of 
the mother plant onto you or passing animal to ensure survival.


White snakeroot 
Plant that killed Lincolns Mother
contains toxic alcohol, tremetol.
When consumed by cattle, goats, sheep and horses their
meat and milk become poisonous. 
When meat or milk is consumed,  this "milk sickness" will likely be deadly to both person and animal
In the  19th century when European Americans began settling in the plants mid western habitat, 
thousands were  killed by milk sickness. 
Most notably Nancy Hanks Lincoln.

What happened to Bella?

Nature bead
Juice from rosary pea is lethal

A pricked finger.   Juice from peas entered bloodstream and killed her.

Other names for it are love bean, crabs eye and prayer bead and few others.

Many of us and especially me know what burrs are,  they used to stick to every stitch of clothing that was worn when walking through where they were growing , accidently that is.
This plant to me is WICKED

Rubber Tree
we had one or two in the house growing up
I thought they were pretty
Milky white sap contains latex and was at one time harvested to make rubber. 
Allergic reactions to latex can be serious for some.
Info below if you can read it.

Manchineel tree

Carribean trees are poisonous
sap contains skin irritants so potent even with rain falling off  the leaves can cause skin to blister
fruit is fatal if ingested, the fruit looks like an apple.  

Such a pretty flower - All plant parts contain andromedotoxin and glucoside arbutin, and can sicken grazing animals and humans.

Belongs to the night shade family-All plant parts contain toxic alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and, 
scopolamine.  Seeds are poisonous.
Believed to originated in Mexico  
Also called the Devils Snare.

This flourished near our creek. 
All plant parts the information says,  contain the toxins oxalic acid and phytolaccotoxin.   The roots are most poisonous.
Not reccomended but young green leaves can be eaten after boiling(do not drink the boiled water).
Older leaves highly toxic.

Grows well in Virginia along with many others shown .  
Contains several alkaloids related to strychnine which can affect livestock
when ingested.  Humans have been poisoned by sucking the nector.
Bees consuming nectar also can die.

Young leaves and acornss contain toxic pyrogallol, gallotannins, polyhydroxyphenolic which are toxic to cattle and sheep with mortality as high as 70 percent.   Let the squirrels have them.

Gas plant -  When temperatures rise, the plant covers itself in fragrant, sticky, and highly flammable oil.   If ignited , the plant explodes , killing off neighboring plants to make room for it's offspring.

Below is one way the gas plant was displayed on our tour of "wicked plants", in the toilet.

contains irritant and not highly toxic
adominal pain, diahrrhea, convulsions, and death in livestock
As little girls we would hold the butter cup under each others chin and if the chin glowed a little yellow, it meant we liked butter.  Even if it didn't glow,  we still loved butter.
Somehow the light would reflect through the petal layer and reflect back.  

stinking Iris - Native to Great Britain, the plant earned it's name because of it's rancid odor, reminisent of roast beef or burning rubber.

sign says forget the phoenix
Pitch Pine 
is actually the first thing to rise from the ashes
Plant produces a highly flammable resin and is highly posionous to cattle and sheep
making it a serious threat to the arid regions of the U.S. where it is found
formerly used as a source of pitch or turpentine

The dark side of this plant is that it's an invasive species especially in woodlands of North America
It's importation and sale is now prohibited in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Myself,  I like the red color in the fall.     
  Like the Red Tip shrubs years ago, they were  way overdone in the landscape.

Back to this seemingly harmless display

 Delphinium - greek word delphis meaning dolphin
resembling the shape of a bottle nose dolphin
causes vomiting and death if ingested.

all parts of tulip plant are toxic.  One chemical, cortol, also found in human urine can be as irritating as the urushiol in poison ivy.

Monks Hood - I love the color of this plant.

Grows in meadows and have noticed  in flower garden borders, especially now since I know  how toxic they are.   I wouldn't use as a cut flower because of grand kids, I won't grow at all.  Careful not to get any sap from the flower on exposed skin.
contains the toxin aconotine, extremely toxic, lethal.

Growing up, I remember mom calling this plant a funeral flower.
Variety of toxic chemical including natural insecticide.  If you like snake stew, it's used as a thickener.

Pt. one

→  wicked two