19 January, 2012

Photo a Day Challenge - Day 19 Sweet

Running a little behind, apologies.. But for the 'sweet' photo, I could have done lollies, cakes, desserts etc, but I also wanted to do something a little different. So I looked back into my photo collection for a specific flower thats in the garden, in fact, there's two specimens! The Brugmansia spp (Wiki link, so don't take it as gospel...)! My old Director at work, has recently re-wrote the app, and I think it is published now, I must ask him next time I see him!

Out the back, there is a single apricot coloured bush, that stands around 3m tall and equally round. When its out in bloom, it has the sweetest scent coming off it, wafting down into the rear living area and kitchen, whilst in the front yard, there is a double white one, which is equally as strong scented. the beauty of these though, is that they are at their strongest at night, which is good when in the spa you can smell it, and in bed at night, its wonderful!


HOWEVER, it does also have a danger about it, as it is toxic...

All parts of Brugmansia are poisonous, with the seeds and leaves being especially dangerous. Brugmansia are rich in Scopolomine (hyoscine), hyoscyamine, and several other tropane alkaloids. Effects of ingestion can include paralysis of smooth muscles, confusion, tachycardia, dry mouth, diarrhea, migrane headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations, mydriasis, rapid onset cycloplegia, and death.

The hallucinogenic effects of Brugmansia were described in the journal Pathology as "terrifying rather than pleasurable".[25] The author Christina Pratt, in An Encyclopedia of Shamanism say that "Brugmansia induces a powerful trance with violent and unpleasant effects, sickening afteraffects, and at times temporary insanity". These hallucinations are often characterized by complete loss of awareness that one is hallucinating, disconnection from reality, and amnesia of the episode; such as one example reported in Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience of a young man who amputated his own penis and tongue after drinking only 1 cup of Brugmansia tea. The Swiss naturalist and explorer, Johann von Tschudi, described the effects of Brugmansia ingestion on one individual in Peru:

Soon after drinking the Tonga, the man fell into a dull brooding, he stared vacantly at the ground, his mouth was closed firmly, almost convulsively and his nostrils were flared. Cold sweat covered his forehead. He was deathly pale. The jugular veins on his throat were swollen as large as a finger and he was wheezing as his chest rose and sank slowly. His arms hung down stiffly by his body. Then his eyes misted over and filled with huge tears and his lips twitched convulsively for a brief moment. His carotids were visibly beating, his respiration increased and his extremities twitched and shuddered of their own accord. This condition would have lasted about a quarter of an hour, then all these actions increased in intensity. His eyes were now dry but had become bright red and rolled about wildly in their sockets and all his facial muscles were horribly distorted. A thick white foam leaked out between his half open lips. The pulses on his forehead and throat were beating too fast to be counted. His breathing was short, extraordinarily fast and did not seem to lift the chest, which was visibly fibrillating. A mass of sticky sweat covered his whole body which continued to be shaken by the most dreadful convulsions. His limbs were hideously contorted. He alternated between murmuring quietly and incomprehensibly and uttering loud, heart-rending shrieks, howling dully and moaning and groaning.

Some municipalities prohibit the purchase, sale, or cultivation of Brugmansia plants.

In 1994, 112 teenagers were admitted to hospitals from ingesting Brugmansia in Florida alone. The concentration of alkaloids in all parts of the plant differ markedly. They even vary with the seasons and the level of hydration, so it is nearly impossible to determine a safe level of alkaloid exposure.

So there you have it, sweet!!

Hoo roo for now...


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