story and a word of caution for those of you new to the St. George,
Utah area, (or are visiting). This plant is called Datura stramonium,
(Jimson Weed). It is common, 'showy', invasive and pops up in many
places this time of year. It has large white flowers that are
attractive, have a pleasant fragrance, (so I'm told), and capture the
attention of nature lovers, flower photographers....and small children.
We had one pop up in our back yard and hadn't bothered to remove it.
Last week some of our young grandchildren were visiting. My
granddaughter began picking tiny yellow flowers from another bush to
make a bouquet for her mother, without asking permission. I noticed her
doing so but did not care as the bush was loaded with these
unremarkable flowers. A while later she came and asked me if she could
pick one of the big pretty white flowers in the back of the yard. This
time I was thankful that she asked first. I recall knowing they were
poisonous, (but didn't know how poisonous), so of course I told her
"no". Depending on which source you read, these plants are extremely
poisonous under certain conditions and when ingested, have been used as a
hallucinogen and known to cause intense visions, delirium, hypothermia,
tachycardia, bizarre behavior. The effects on both mind and body are
subjectively perceived as highly unpleasant, causing a state of profound
and long-lasting disorientation with a potentially fatal outcome.
Yikes! We now have one less plant in our backyard!