|The purple flowers are, of course, those of a foxglove, a plant that has medicinal values but which is toxic in larger doses|
The exhibit represents the back yard of a Victorian house where a botanical murder has been committed.
|The back porch of the house. The trumpet flowers are those of datura, a plant containing tropane alkaloids which are used as a poinson and hallucinogen|
The "back yard" is an amazing collection of plants, ranging from some of the more common ones like oleander and tobacco to some pretty exotic ones, such as this prickly monster called "porcupine tomato" (solanum pyracanthon) hiding in a bed of coleus.
|The porcupine tomato produces toxic tropane alkaloids in its leaves, flowers and fruit|
The porcupine tomato was bad enough, but a climbing onion?
|These bulbs are poisonous. Make a salad for some one you really don't like|
Is there a creeping potato hiding somewhere? A strawberry wielding a machine gun? In fact the range of lethal weapons these plants are armed with made me very careful not to come too close to any of them. Who knows how they can get you.
|Touch it and turn into a goblin?|
Some plants can literally make you speechless...
|The sign says: A tropical South American plant well known for its ability to temporarily inflame vocal cords, leaving people unable to speak. Some species are believed to have been used as an arrow poison.|
...while others can gobble you up alive. The beautiful pitcher plants below are carnivorous: they lure insects into their "pitchers" which contain liquid that dissolves the insects for consumption by the plant.
I remember reading somewhere that once there was a partially eaten mouse found inside a pitcher. These plants apparently have quite a varied diet...
|Another type of pitcher plant|
Right below the pitchers is an unusual free-floating plant called a water hyacinth. I thought it was beautiful until I read that it holds the Guinness World Record as the world's worst aquatic weed. Apparently it grows really fast, doubling its population every two weeks, and chokes waterways stopping even commercial boats and closing down dams....
Most exhibits were accompanied by signs containing direct quotes from the book. I have to say that makes for very interesting reading.
Below is a castor bean plant, which until now I have only seen in a bottle of castor oil.
Most people know about the medicinal value of castor oil, but apparently anything can be put to use in a wicked way, especially by KBG agents. I will let the sign tell the story...
I was disappointed they didn't mention roses. I am quite sure there is an undocumented fact or two about a prickly monster luring the unsuspected passerby, siren-like, with her beautiful blooms, and then sinking her hooked prickles into the victim and holding him forever in a deadly embrace. I can think of a few ramblers that would fit the part...