Atropa belladonna, commonly known as belladonna or deadly nightshade, is a herbaceous plant in the nightshade family Solanaceae, which includes tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplant.

Before the Middle Ages, it was used as an anaesthetic for surgery; the ancient Romans used it as a poison (the wife of Emperor Augustus and the wife of Claudius both were rumoured to have used it for murder); and, predating this, it was used to make poison-tipped arrows: nothing tame about this plant!
The  name “bella donna” is derived from Italian and means “beautiful woman” because the herb was used in eye-drops by women to dilate the pupils of the eyes to make them appear seductive.

Sweet belladonna

Dilated pupils conceal

Your deadly nightshade

Copyright 2017- Vivian Zems

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