Atropa belladonna v. Lutea – Deadly Nightshade (seed)
Atropa belladonna or Nightshade is native to Europe. The genus name Atropa comes from the Greek word Atropos, one of the three fates who cuts the thread of life. It alludes to the poisonous nature of this plant. Belladonna (beautiful lady) refers to the practice of putting drops of nightshade in the eyes of women to dilate the pupils, which was once considered very attractive.
Nightshade contains tropane alkaloids, one being atropine which is extracted by the pharmaceutical industry for use in cold medications and in eye drops for ophthalmic diagnosis and surgery. Also used as a pre medication before surgery.
A tall (1 – 1.5m) perennial herb with purple/brown bell shaped flowers that appear in summer, followed by shiny black berries. Variety Lutea has yellow flowers and ripe fruit.
Care and Cultivation of Atropa belladonna
Seedsof Atropa belladonna can be sown in spring in a sandy/loam potting mix, 0.5 – 1 cm under the surface. Likes a part shade/full-sun position with good drainage and adequate moisture.
Seeds germinate sporadically in 2-4 weeks. Stratification for 2-4 weeks prior to sowing will enhance germination. Also, a 1 minute alcohol soak before sowing has been used to enhance germination.
10 seeds per packet
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