"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Thursday, 18 December 2008


In Italian, a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the similarity of the two languages.

Belladonna, the Deadly Nightshade or Atropa belladonna, was the Devil's favorite plant. It has purple bell-shaped flowers and poisonous black glossy berries. An alkaloid extracted from this plant, sometimes used medicinally, contains atropine and was used as eyedrops to widen the pupil and hence make women look more attractive.

1 comment:

  1. What you have as that picture is actually Solanum dulcamara or Bittersweet Nightshade (Or Woody Nightshade), it is often called Deadly Nightshade by American's but is actually not the original "True" Deadly Nightshade even though both are toxic. Solanum dulcamara has the star-shaped flowers in your pictures and red berries. Atropa belladonna which is considered the "True" Deadly Nightshade has bell-shaped flowers and black berries. Atropa is believed to come from Atropos who was one of the three fates that held the shears that could cut the thread of life. Thus Atropa refers to a plant that can "Take life" and belladonna means Beauty or beautiful lady, basically a beauty that can take life. Atropa belladonna flowers look like this: https://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2013/siebold_alic/belladonna6.jpg