Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gaudy Gladioli and Some Poison Blues

I tried growing some Gladioli this year, at least so I could say I have grown them at least once. I bought a new type, from the "Glamini" series. They are supposed to be a shorter variety that theoretically does not need to be staked (mine are leaning after a rain). This one was supposed to be a red and pink type called "Emily". I can't find my order summary, but the plant I have growing certainly doesn' t look like Emily, as it is a horrible peach color (it probably is the one called "Zoe"). This color might look good in some tropical display along with some complementary cannas, but looks terrible next to my Rudbeckia. Truly horrible. I think the mail order company made a mistake on their labeling.

I've got some nice blooms on my Aconitum napellus (monkshood) this year. I dug this plant out of my sister-in-law's yard, so that I could admire it and keep it away from children that might try eating it. This is a nice plant for late-summer blooms, though the dark blue doesn't stand out from a distance like bright whites and yellows do.

Aconitum contains toxic alkaloids that are cardiotoxins and neurotoxins. These are found in all parts of the plant. It is interesting that it is used in homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine. Canadian actor Andre Noble apparently died in 2004 after accidentally ingesting the plant while camping in Newfoundland. Plant toxins will cause symptoms in the cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and gastrointestinal systems, though death is almost always because of cardiac ventricular arrythmias or asystole ("flatline", a ceasing of electrical activity in the heart).

3 comments:

GardenJoy4Me said...

I still remember hearing about this man's death from ingesting aconitum .. why he did that is beyond me ? .. I know he thought he was expert enough on wild flora to be able to eat some things .. but that one .. very strange indeed.
I have grown this plant .. different cultivars .. for quite a few years but lately I have one plant that does not form proper flower buds .. I'm not sure what the problem is .. perhaps too much fertilizer got near it .. that is one theory I have .. but there is always one plant in our gardens that makes us shake our heads, isn't there ? LOL
Joy

easygardener said...

I have a Monkshood in my garden and love the deep blue colour. Pity about the Gladioli - both plants look rather embarrassed at the colour clash!

Rosey Pollen said...

Monkshood lookin' good!
glads ...too bad they did not work out. I quit those too.
Rosey