- Posted by: John Roncoroni
From the New York Post
The patch of leafy greens and white, trumpet-shaped flowers grew a couple feet high in a plant bed at Columbus Avenue and West 93rd Street and was spotted over the weekend by former New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.
“What a long, strange trip: Bumper crop of Datura stramonium, aka Jimsonweed, growing in planting bed on Columbus Ave. Greenway at 93rd St. in NYC,” Benepe tweeted on Saturday. “A well-known hallucinogenic plant, it is also fatally toxic when consumed in even tiny amounts.”
The hearty weed begins blooming in the late summer, according to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It is part of the nightshade family and related to tomato, eggplant, pepper, tobacco and potato plants — but there's nothing delicious about it.
“All parts of the plant are toxic, most particularly the seeds,” the Brooklyn Botanic Garden said on its website. “Potent amounts of alkaloid compounds are present, which potentially cause convulsions, hallucinations, and even death if ingested.”
The garden added that animals tend to stay away from jimson weed — thanks to its stinky-feet scent when crushed.
But humans have been known to use jimson weed for medicinal purposes since Colonial times, as a recreational drug that causes hallucinations and euphoria, according to WebMD, which notes that the plant is “unsafe” when ingested or inhaled.
The plant, known as “zombie cucumber” in Haiti, also has links to zombification in voodoo, a 2013 report by LiveScience said.
By Tuesday morning, the entire plant bed had been cut down.