Category Archives: botany

Garden of the Gods (Colorado Springs, Colorado)

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545)

Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street (at Gateway Rd) * Manitou / Colorado Springs, Colorado * 719.634.6666 * http://www.gardenofgods.com/ * http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545
Originally first published May 9, 2009 by Thomas Baurley

Garden of the Gods is a unique natural geological park that is located in Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs … and is a Registered National Natural Landmark. It’s open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. in the summer and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the winter. The park boasts over a million visitors a year or more.

History and Mythology

Where the Great Plains grasslands meet the low-lying pinon-juniper woodlands of the American Southwest at the base of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains a geological upheaval occurred along the Trans-Rocky Mountain Fault system creating these spectacular features over a million years ago. Horizontal ancient beds of sandstone, limestone, and conglomerates were pushed and tilted vertically when the tectonic plates pushed together. Glaciations, wind, and water erosion shaped the features over hundreds of thousands of years.

This geologic feature was seen as sacred grounds by the original inhabitants of the area, potentially visited and used for spirituality possibly over 3,000 years ago to present. As early as 1330 B.C.E. evidence of human occupation has been found from petroglyphs, fire rings, pottery, and stone tools have been left behind. The Ute Indians claim that their people always had lived where Garden of the Gods Park now stands and their people were created there and around Manitou.

The Kiowa, Apache, Shoshone, Pawnee, Cheyenne, and Arapaho also claim their peoples visited or lived here. It was known as a pivotal crossroads and meeting place for many indigenous peoples and nomadic tribes gathered together for peace. Rivaling tribes were said to even have laid down their weapons before entering the shadows of the sandstone features.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Two sets of petroglyphs were found here – the first hidden in a crevice on the east side of South Gateway Rock depicting a circular shield-like figure divided into four parts with a rain cloud terrace image, a Thunderbird image, zigzag lines, and image of wheat or corn and a faint flower-like image with a dozen dots forming a semi-circle over its top which some experts said was done recently in the last 100 years copying Indian designs from a book. The other petroglyph is pecking in the rock discovered in the 1980’s and estimated to date to 1500 C.E. most likely an Ute Indian design potentially depicting a deer, a third of a buffalo head, and maybe a stone tool seemingly telling a story.

Alleged Native American legends of the site have been told, their authenticity unknown. Marion E. Gridley wrote in “Indian Legends of American Scenes” telling a tale about a great flood that covered all the mountains nearby Pikes Peak. As the waters receded, the Great Spirit petrified the carcasses of all animals killed by the flood into sandstone rolling them down into this valley as evidence of the Great Flood.

The second was written by Ford C. Frick saying “… in the nestling ales and on the grassy plains which lie at the foot of the Great White Mountain that points the way to heaven lived the Chosen People. Here they dwelt in happiness together. And above them on the summit of the Mighty Peak where stand the Western Gates of Heaven, dwelt the Manitou. And that the Chosen might know of his love the Manitou did stamp uon the Peak the image of his face that all might see and worship him … but one day as the storm clouds played about the Peak, the image of the Manitou was hid .. and down from the North swept a barbaric tribe of giants, taller than the spruce which grew upon the mountain side and so great that in their stamping strides they shook the earth. And with the invading host came gruesome beasts – unknown and awful in their mightiness – monstrous beasts that would devour the earth and tread it down … and as the invading hosts came on the Chosen Ones fell to the earth at the first gentle slope of mountain and prayed to Manitou to aid it. Then came to pass a wondrous miracle, the clouds broke away and sunshine smote the Peak and from the very summit, looking down, appeared the face of Manitou himself. And stern he looked upon the advancing host, and as he looked the giants and beasts turned to stone within their very steps … “

If this site was in Australia or Europe, it would be named castles and fortresses associated with Gods, Deities, Spirits, or Faeries.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

Westerners first discovered the features in 1859 by two surveyors who were here to build Old Colorado City. M.S. Beach, one of the surveyors thought it would be a great location for a beer garden. The other surveyor replied to him stating “A Beer Garden? Why this is fit place for the Gods to assemble. We will call it Garden of the Gods”. General William Jackson Palmer who was known for his contributions of building Colorado Springs convinced his colleague Charles Elliot Perkins to buy the 240 acres embracing the features. In 1909 his children donated the land to the city of Colorado Springs.

The original family that donated the land to the public required that it would always remain free, and that is what it remains today. Garden of the Gods stands as a great park for hiking, walking, bicycling, rock climbing, picnicking, special events, and weddings … The park has it all … protected as 1,387 scenic acres … and presents itself as a unique tourist / information center, with a theater and gift shop near the entrance. Within are 15 miles of trails ranging in various levels of difficulty from beginner to advance for hiking and exercise.
A historical video greets you at the welcome center and tells the tale that began in the 1870’s when the railroads carved westward, when General William Jackson Palmer founded the city of Colorado Springs and upon discovering this natural beauty, urged his friend Charles Elliott Perkins, the head of Burlington Railroad, to make his home where the park now stands. He lived there until he finished his railway from Chicago to Colorado Springs. His railroad project wasn’t a success and never made its destination in the springs.
His homestead eventually became his summer home in 1879. He purchased 480 acres and never actualized building on it, leaving the land in its natural state and for the public. When he died in 1907, he made arrangements for the land to be a public park, and this was enacted by his children in 1909 forever as the Garden of the Gods “where it shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” That is exactly what they’ve done …. and its a beautiful place to be.

Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Garden of the Gods (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=545); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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Denver Zoo

Free Day at the Denver Zoo - ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Free Day at the Denver Zoo – ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Denver Zoo
~ Denver, Colorado ~

Not a fan of Zoos, but when discussing great zoos that are in existence, Denver Zoo is pretty spectacular. I’ve been here a few times, the most recent was the free zoo day in October 2016. The Denver Zoo is located in a City Park, near downtown Denver, and is owned by the City and County of Denver. It is just behind the Museum of Natural History and Science. It consists of 80 acres of well maintained grounds housing an assortment of animals from around the world. It was founded in 1896 with the donation of an orphaned American Black Bear. To house the orphan, it became the first zoo in the United States to use naturalistic zoo enclosures rather than cages and bars. The zoo is accredited by the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, with ISO 14001 certification granted in 2009 and named the Greenest Zoo in the Country in 2012.

Free Day at the Denver Zoo - ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography
Free Day at the Denver Zoo – ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=28145), Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 4, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Sir William Colin MacKenzie (1877-1938)

Sir William Colin MacKenzie ~ 1877-1938: the surgeon, anatomist, philanthropist, orthopaedist

    From the Australian National Museum display: ” Colin MacKenzie was a Melbourne surgeon who studied marsupial anatomy in order to understand human anatomy. Like many other scientists, he believed Australian animals would soon become extinct. MacKenzie wanted to start a native animal sanctuary in Canberra to help with his research. It never happened, but he later founded the Healesville Sanctuary …”

“Colin Mackenzie” or “Bricky” was nicknamed as such for his red hair was a man of great repute in Australia especially as a benefactor, museum administrator, anatomist, and director. He was born on March 9, 1877 in Kilmore, Victoria, Australia. He was the youngest of six as son to his Scottish parents John MacKenzie a draper, and his wife Anne nee McKay. He educated at Kilmore State School and on to Scotch College in Melbourne where he graduated with honors in Greek on December 1893. He graduated from Medical school from the University of Melbourne in 1898. He was first-class honors in surgery, women’s diseases, and obstetrics. He studied in Europe in 1903. In 1908 he tackled the extensive epidemic in Australia of people suffering in need of orthopaedic skills. During World War I he spent three years in England at the Royal College of Surgeons assisting Sir Arthur Keith in cataloging specimens of war wounds for the army and helped bring out the new edition of Treve’s Surgical Applied Anatomy. At the same time he continued his studies of comparative anatomy of Australian fauna. MacKenzie dissected dozens of Australian animals to help him understand human anatomy. For example, he thought dissecting and examining the shoulders of a Koala might help him improve techniques for human shoulders in surgery. He became council member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland. By 1918, he returned to Australia and converted his house at 612 St. Kilda Road into a laboratory and museum which he called the Australian Institute of Anatomical Research devoted most of his time researching Australian animals from 1919 until his death in 1938. By 1920 He had 80 acres of bushland at Badger Creek as a field station for his research. The facility was fenced, had a 6-roomed house for a curator, a cottage for visiting scientists, workshops, animal pens, and a staff of assistants. This eventually became the Sir Colin MacKenzie Sanctuary in 1934. His collection of specimens became world famous, and was gifted to the Australian goverment in 1924. He married his assistant Winifred Iris Evelyn in 1928. He was knighted in 1929 and spent a good portion of the remainder of his life in Canberra. There he served as a member of the Medical Board and by 1933 became the second president of the Canberra-based Royal Society of Australia. His health began to decay and he retired in 1937 upon returning to Melbourne with his wife. He died on June 29, 1938 of a cerebral hemorrage at his home in Kew and was cremated.

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Australian National Botanical Gardens

Australian National Botanical Gardens
* GPO Box 1777 * Canberra, Australia Capital Territory * 2601 * Australia * +61 2 6250 9599 * http://www.anbg.gov.au/ *

In the heart of Australia’s Capital Territory and City of Canberra is the Nation’s most exquisite National Botanical Gardens. Radiating like a gem in the midland plains, this fabulous collection of Eucalypti, plants, trees, shrubs, vines, orchids, and botany is any garden lover’s paradise. It is operated by the Australian Government’s Department of the Environment and Heritage. The park encompasses the largest living collection of native Australian flora in the world. The goal of the center is to understand, study, and promote Australia’s flora locally, regionally, and around the world; hosting a variety of botanical resources for researchers while protecting and cultivating endangered native plants. The Garden was first conceived in Canberra’s development plans of the 1930’s when the Advisory Council set up a framework for its development, planning a large site on Black Mountain. The first trees were planted in September 1949, though not opening its gates until October of 1970. The Gardens encompass over 90 hectares on Black Mountain, of which 40 is currently developed and embracing thematic sections in the park housing plants with shared taxonomy of over 5,500 cultivated species. The Gardens have a Rainforest Gully, a Rocky Garden, A Sydney Region Flora area, A Mallee Plants section, Banksias, waratahs, grevilleas, Callistemon, Leptospermum, Melaleuca, A Eucalypt Lawn, Wattles, and a Research facility, gift shop, and cafe. The National Herbarium is also on site housing the largest collection of dried, pressed, and recorded plant specimens in Australia. The facility manages several large plant databases of Australian plants based on its collections. For any botanist or plant enthusiast, the Botanical Gardens is a must see while in Canberra. “Extroadinary”. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5. Visited on April 24, 2011 by Thomas Baurley.

Australian National Botanical Gardens: Botanical Resource Center

sign at the gardens: “Botanica Resource Center: Plant identification at your fingertips
The Botanical resource center is a learning place for visitors to discover, identify, and explore flor of the A.C.T. and southeastern N.S.W. This self help collection is available for use by students, plant surveyors, and people who want to learn more about plants. To explore this library of pressed plant specimens and computer plant identification resources contact the Australian National Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre.”

    Bibliography & Recommended Reading:

  • Australian National Botanical Gardens. ~ About Us. referenced in 2011 from website; ANBG: http://www.anbg.gov.au.
  • Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. ~ “Autralian Nationa
    l Botanical Gardens
    ; referenced in 2011 from website; author unknown. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org.

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Werribee Rose Gardens, Mansion, and Estate

Werribee Park – Mansion and Rose Gardens
* Official web site * K Road (Gate 2) * Werribee * Victoria, Australia * 3030 * Telephone: 13 1963 * Email: bookingswerribee@parks.vic.gov.au *

Disatisfied with our beach trip, we wandered over to Werribee Park – and while caught an hour or so of wandering around in the beautiful rose gardens, did not get to cover the mansion and other parts of the park. Highly recommend showing up early for this place not towards the end of the day. This is a site where one can get a grasp of Australia’s pastoral empire by walking amongst Victorian era Italianate-style architecture surrounded by exquisite formal gardens including a spectacular rose garden and open space park lands. The site is a hidden haven for picnickers, garden enthusiasts, botanists, and history buffs. The park consists of a historical mansion in Werribee just outside of Melbourne. It hosts the mansion, the Victorian State Rose Gardens, formal gardens, the Werribee Park National Equestrian Center, the Open Range Zoo, and a comtemporary sculpture walk along the Werribee River. The Mansion is home to a hotel and conference center. Owned and operated by the Victorian government since 1973, the park has become a popular tourist spot since the late 70’s. It was first built in 1874 by Andrew and Thomas Chirnside with an Italian architectural style influencing a large farm. After Thomas committed suicide in the 1890’s, the property was passed on to George who built the Manor. From 1923 until 1973 it operated as a Catholic seminary as “Corpus Christi College”. By 1996 it became a popular backdrop for the English television series “The Genie From Down Under” as well as for an American film called “The Pirate Movie” and the 1976 film “The Devil’s Playground”. The Rose Gardens are grouped into 4 sections – opening first in 1986 in the shape of a Tudor rose with 5 petals with over 252 different roses from around the world. Admission to the gardens are free. The orchard was establised in the 1870’s and renown for its peaches, apples, quinces, pears, grapes, plums, walnuts, and olives. Rating 3 stars out of 5 – visited 4/17/2011.

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Australian National Museum

National Museum of Australia
* Lawson Crescent * Acton Peninsula, Canberra ACT 2601 * (02) 6208 5000 *

One of Australia’s most brilliant and diverse museums is the National Museum of Australia in Canberra within the heart of the Australian Capital Territory. It was established in 1980 by the National Museum of Australia Act to preserve and interpret Australian history, cultures, people, and events that made Australia what it is today. It was homeless until March 11, 2001 when it opened its doors in the national capital. Diverse collections and exhibits ranging from 50,000 Before Present upwards to the current day with focus on the Aborigine, the original inhabitants, their beliefs, culture, and myths. It covers European settlement of these shores from 1788 to modern day and focuses on the material culture that Australia creates both past and present. They possess the largest collection of Aboriginal bark paintings and stone tools found in Australia. Exhibits rotate around like all major museums and during my visit had a feature called “Not Just Ned” covering the Irish immigration to Australia. In addition to a massive artifact collection, they have a wide range of books, catalogues, and journals in their archives. Highly innovative and on track with technology, the Museum is notable for its advancement and design. They have an incredible outreach program with regional communities as well as a inclusion with the Aborigines. The Museum was designed by architect and design director Howard Raggatt themed with knotted ropes symbolizing the weaving together of Australian stories and tales. The entire building and grounds tells the story of creation, the Dreaming, and immigration of these shores. The building is at the center of the knot with trailing ropes or strips extending from the building, forming large loops that are walkways extending past the neighbouring AIATSIS building ending in a large curl aligning as the “Uluru Axis” representing the Australian natural landmark. This design incorporates Bed Maddock’s “Philosophy Tape”, Jackson Pollock’s “Blue Poles”, the Boolean String, A knot, Ariadne’s thread, and the Aboriginal Dreamtime story of he Rainbow Serpent creating the land. Within the Museum complex is an exact copy of the lightning flash zigzag that Libeskind created for the Berlin Museum by breaking a five pointed star of David. This initially brought allegations of plagiarism. Its exterior is covered with anodised aluminum panels that include worlds written in braille. These words include “mate”, “She’ll be right”, “sorry”, and “forgive us our genocide”. In 2006 the Museum was damaged by a hail storm that caused the ceiling to collapse, expose power cables, and flood the floor.

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Captain James Cook

Captain James Cook

* 1728 – 1779 * England / America / Australia *

One of the world’s greatest explorers, Captain James Cook was born in Yorkshire, England on October 27, 1728. A very intelligent, loyal, and self confident man, Cook was a hero in many eyes. He was brilliant in navigation, very attentive to good hygiene and taking care of his crews. He was the son of a average family with a mom from Yorkshire and a Scottish father who was a simple laborer. Raised on a farm, he attended the school in his village of “Marton-in-Cleveland” and became a shopkeeper’s apprentice at age 17. 18 months later he changed apprenticeship to that under a Quaker coal-shipper at Whitby by the name of John Walker. During his apprenticeship, he learned navigation and mathematics. Walker was impressed with him and offered him a command which was turned down after embarking upon the H.M.S. Eagle graduating to Master’s Mate. After two years in Channel service, he gained another promotion, this time as Master of the Pembroke and took plight to cross the Atlantic in 1758 engaged in the siege of Louisburg, manning the ship “the Mercury” and conducting a survey of the Saint Lawrence River to assist the troops to sieze Quebec during the 7 years war. His high notability for such a feat gained him a transfer to Northumberland where he was tasked to survey the coasts of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia for four years all the while advancing his knowledge and studies. He was married to Elizabeth Batts of Shadwell, England in 1762 while on break from the Newfoundland Survey and was awarded his first command of the schooner Grenville and soon after published his Newfoundland charts and observations of the solar eclipse that put him on radar with the Royal Society and the Admirality. He became father to James Cook, Nathaniel Cook, Elizabeth Cook, Joseph Cook, George Cook, and Hugh Cook. He was shortly thereafter nominated over the first chosen candidate Alexander Dalrymple as the captain of the expedition to the South Seas to observe the transit of Venus with a secret mission to discover the mythical South Lands that is now known as Australia. Promoted from Master to Lieutenant, he was given the command of the Endeavor Bark. He embarked upon the expedition on August 26, 1768 overseeing a crew of 94 with assistance from an onboard astronomer, artists, and two botanists by the name of Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander. They sailed through the Madeira, Canary Islands, and Cape Verde Islands, past Rio de Janeiro, and around Cape Horn to Tahiti arriving on April 13, 1769 to observe the transit of Venus so the distance from the Earth to the Sun could be measured. He also charted numerous island and collected natural flora and faun of the lands he encountered. He followed through on his secret mission to discover the South Lands – and in August sailed to “re-discover” New Zealand (previously discovered by Abel Tasman in 1642), circumnavigated the islands, charted its coast, and took possession of the lands for Britain. He steered westward where he discovered the Eastern coast of “New Holland” on April 19, 1770 when land was spied by his Lieutenant Hicks that became “Australia”. They sailed north charting the coast and sought refuge on land to conduct repairs of the Endeavor. On April 29th, they landed at Stingray Bay that was later renamed “Botany Bay” collecting various flora and fauna that interested them. From Botany Bay they hit Bustard Bay onwards to Cape Townsend northward until they beached on the Great Barrier Reef for several weeks. They lost a bit of their surplus and equipment beaching into the Endeavor River. It took them 7 weeks to complete repairs but enough time to collect more flora and fauna and declaring the land for England taking possession of the whole Eastern Coast of modern day Australia. They then sailed for Batavia where they arrived early October that same year. More repairs and refitting had to take place delaying their departure until December 26th causing delay in their return to England until July 13, 1771. He didn’t realize he had discovered “The Great South Land” (a.k.a. Terra Australis) and pleaded for another chance to discover it. He was awarded a second expedition, manning the “Resolution” followed by the “Adventure” with scientists and artists from 1772 to 1775 circumnavigating the world in high southern latitudes. He officially discovered Australia in early 1773, and sailed around Tasmania. His third voyage from 1777-1778 on the “Resolution” again, visited Adventure Bay, searched for the Northwest Passage from the Pacific, explored the Bering Straight, the Pacific coasts of North America and Siberia. He arrived in the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawaii) early 1779 during the “Makahiki” a great Hawaiian harvest festival involving the worship of the Polynesian God Lono. Quarrels fell between the locals and Cook with crew causing some to thieve Cook’s boats. Cook attempted to take the king “Kalaniopuu” hostage but failed and stabbed to death. He was killed on February 14, 1779 in Kealakekua Bay. In Honor of him and his discovery of Australia, the HMS Endeavor has been replicated as the HMB Endeavor.

Captain Cook has been billed with the discovery of Australia (for white / Western society), charted over 5,000 miles with unusual accuracy, solving many myths/legends of the Pacifi Ocean, opened the northwest American coast to trade/colonization, he set high standards for charting and navigation, was one of England’s most able cartographers/navigators/astronomers, and one of whom charted the transit of Venus so the distance from the earth to the sun could be measured. He was also the Western discoverer of many unique flora and fauna such as the Eucalyptus and the Kangaroo. He also theorized that Polynesians originated from Asia. His discoveries allowed England to establish a second British Empire.

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Eucalyptus


Eucalyptus Tree, Pine River Island, Canberra, ACT, Australia

Eucalyptus
Myrtaceae

Common Names:

“Eucalypts”, “Gum Trees”, “mallees”, “mallet”, “marlock”, “Apple Box”,

Taphonomy/Taxonomy:

Over 700 Species.

Localities:

Native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia. Might be native to the Archipelagos of the Philippines as well as Taiwan. With over 700 Species, 691 are found in Australia, and 15 of the species can be found outside of Australia, with only 9 species not local to Australia. Eucalyptus species are found cultivated in other parts of the world, especially in tropical/subtropical regions in the Americas, Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, China, and India.

Description:

One of the most dominant fast growing trees found in Australia, the Eucalypus is a diverse species of Myrtle Family trees and shrubs.Single stemmed with a crown forming a minor proportion of the tree height for the trees found in forests, and single stemmed with short branches above ground level for those in the woodlands. Those that are multi-stemmed from the ground level but rarely taller than 10 meter height are called “Mallees” and have crowns at the ends of the branchlets. Leaves are lanceolate shaped, alternate, petiolate, and waxy/glossy evergreen though some tropical species lose their leaves during termination of a dry season. The leaves are covered with oil glands. Mature trees have numerous full leafs and are towering giants offering patchy shade as the leaves droop downwards. Leaves of the seedlings are sometimes sessile, glaucous, and opposite. There are numerous differences between species. The flowers are very distinct for the Eucalyptus as well as its capsule/gumnut fruit. White, cream, pink/red, or yellow fluffy stamened flowers with no petals enclosed by a operculum cap composed of fused petals, sepals, or a combination. When the stamens expand, the operculum breaks off splitting from the cup-like flower base and is what gives to the naming of the tree. Fruis are cone-shaped, woody with valves at its ends that release the seeds. Full or Half Barks can range from smooth to textured, stringybarks, ironbarks, tessellated, boxed with short fibres, or ribbon barked with a satiny sheen as white, grey, green, copper, or cream colored. Dead bark can sometimes be retained in the lower half of the trunks/stems. Relating to the Gum Tree family as many species will release gummy sap where a break on a branch or the bark occurs. Its roots control sitting water, drainage, and irrigation. Some species of Eucalyptus are amongst the tallest trees in the world. The oils in the wood, bark, and leaves are highly flammable and can become explosive during forest fires.

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Vermijo Community Garden (Old Colorado City)

Vermijo Community Garden
* http://www.ppugardens.org/community_gardens * Vermijo Park on Vermijo Ave and 26th Stree, Old Colorado City, Colorado Springs, Colorado * To rent: info@ppugardens.org *

A beautiful community garden, on the edge of Vermijo Park, downtown Old Colorado City where residents teamed up with the PPUG and funded by the Colorado Home and Garden Show/Care and Share have developed this small unused parcel for a community growing space. It was founded by community member Larry Stebbins who put it all together. Residents in the area can rent plots up to 400 square feet where they can garden and grow vegetables. Community gardens take more committment than a garden in one’s own yard, as the gardener has to visit a couple of times a week with their own tools and supplies rather than step out their back door. However, a perfect solution for the green-thumb types that want a garden but lack yard space to have one. I had the pleasure of seeing this nice space when I visited the wonderful garden as one of the resident Garden Faeries gave a deluxe tour of the plots and invited wanderers from the 2010 Colorado Faerie Festival to come in and offer the nature spirits a rock that they could paint. Very creative constructive idea that added blessings to the garden as well as the festival. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.


Vermijo Garden

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Mt. Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Mount Pisgah Arboretum
* http://www.mountpisgaharboretum.org/ * 34901 Frank Parrish Rd. * Eugene, OR 97405 * mtpisgah@efn.org *

The Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Botanical Garden has always been a very sacred place in my heart. No wonder why I feel so home at the Park when my tribes of Faeries have begun to throw their infamous Faerieworlds festival on said location. My first visit to Mt. Pisgah was back in 1993 when I first moved to Eugene, Oregon. My friend Danae, who lived on a house whose property nestled up to the Arboretum’s gorgeous lands, was operating a Church of Worlds Nest there. As I had started up the Ancient Forests Protogrove of ADF we combined efforts, celebrations, and ceremonies at the Arboretum lands and hilltops, Spencer and Skinner Buttes. I went hiking weekly through this amazing botanical garden with various friends including Hyko, my girlfriend at the time Linda, and my good friends Jennifer and Rachel. I took my daughter on those trails for many a fascinating hike. There has never been any one botanical garden that was that magical and that special to me. The magical Druid rites atop the hills were very sacred, very special. The Mount Pisgah Arboretum consists of 209 acres of a non-profit “Friends of Mount Pisgah” arboretum and botanical garden that is located within the 2,300 acre Howard Buford Recreation Area located along the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and the slopes of Mount Pisgah just south of Eugene and Springfield Oregon. Admission to the park is free. The Arboretum was founded in 1973 and quickly constructed over 7 miles of hiking and nature trails, riparian meadows, evergreen forests, a rare preserved oak savanna, wildflower meadows, a water garden, wooded picnic area, restrooms, over 23 bridges, planting, removal of invasive species, and publication of their newsletters. They began holding Mushroom and Wildflower shows in 1981 and established a staff shortly after. Its mission is to preserve, protect, and propogate Pacific Northwest plant communities, education, and recreation. Mt Pisgah is home to well over 67 families / 231 genera / and 339 plant species of native mosses, shrubs, ferns, plants, and wildflowers. The park is also a nature sanctuary for numerous wildlife such as the endangered Western Pond Turtle, the sensitive Red-Legged Frog, tree frogs, bats, deer, coyote, foxes, small mammals, lizards, Gopher and garter snakes. Numerous birds of raptors, waterfowl, migratory and resident songbirds are abundant. This amazing place will always be dear to my heart. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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Brigid’s Sacred Wells in Kildare, Ireland


Brigid’s Well #1, the “Wayward Well”, Kildare, Ireland

Brighid’s Holy Wells in Kildare
*
Kildare, Ireland

The Goddess or St. Brigid has two holy wells in Kildare? She certainly does. Some say that one of the wells belongs to the Ancient Goddess Brigid while the other well belongs to St. Brigid. Both are sacred, both are holy, and both hold Brigid’s magical healing waters. Well #1 is the ancient “original” sacred well of Brigid. Well #2 is the dressed up sacred shrine and park of Brigid with her well. They were two distinctly different entities … an Ancient Goddess who’s ethereal Godly presence can manifest as a human female and the actual magical human nun turned Saint who was the personification of the Deitie. One in the same? could be. Two differently distinct entities who share the common thread? very possibly. Two wells … that seems to be the case. One for the Goddess and One for the Saint? I would say “both” wells contain “both” the Saint and the Goddess in them. I’ve come to notice a pattern with this, that the “ancient” Pagan “original” well is often offset from the “Christian” one. This seemed to be the case when I went to see the Madron well in Cornwall, England (though technically that one had “three” – the original one buried in the marsh, the Pagan “original” one offset from the one underwater, and the Christian well house.). There are many Brigid wells in Ireland as well as Britain. As wells were the sacred sites of veneration in the Druidic faith, many also have an associated sacred tree with them that are covered with votive offerings. These are often called “Wishing Trees”. Trees covered with “clotties” or ribbons of cloth done as a prayer for healing or a spell to obtain something. Pilgrims come here to get in touch with the well inside themselves. Wells are sacred places where people for thousands of years have come to pray, worship, and reflect. Pagan and Holy wells are often seen as the entrance to the womb of Mother Earth, the source of life. Each holy well usually is always related to healing, and each well usually has a specialty that it performs. Brigid’s wells are pretty powerful for healing sore eyes. Brigid is associated with all healing. Her girdle is capable of curing all disease and illness and this well is rumored to make “the blind man seeing, the dumb girl speaking, etc.”

Brighid’s Holy Well #1 a.k.a. “The Wayside Well”

The first well is the ancient Pagan sacred well of the Goddess Brigid. It is located just next to the car park of the Japanese Gardens. This well / spring itself feeds and nourishes the Gardens themselves. This is the spring source whose waters run off and feeds the newer well. It’s not really decorated and is simple, rustic, ancient, and silent. Seemingly forgotten. I has only an inscription sign in Irish that translates “St. Brigid, Mary of the Gael, pray for us.” However it is still a major focal point for pilgrimmages and ceremonies. The Brigid Eve ceremonies (January 31st) start at a small fire set up just outside the Japanese Gardens car park with a chanting to the Goddess Brigid which is followed by a candlelit journey of contemplation about the Goddess and the Saint and the spirit that weaves them together. The candle lit journey goes to this well and ends at the second well. It is customary to gather this well water in a bottle because of its strong healing properties and in exchange to leave an offering for the spirits and faeries who dwell there.


“Tobair Bride” / St. Brigid’s Well, Kildare, Ireland

Brighid’s Holy Well #2 a.k.a. “Tobair Bride” (St. Brigid’s Well)

The second well is the “supposed” Christian well of St. Brigid. It’s the tourist one. It’s the “Official” one. This is the one in the tourist guides, sign posts, and advertisements. It is located in a landscaped grotto at the end of a short lane close to Well #1. The local Catholic clergy moved Christian devotion and practices to this site in the 1950’s supposedly out of concern for people’s safety in accessing the original well which was at the bend in a narrow busy road. It is here that the Roman Catholic healing well is located. While pilgrims often visit both wells, this is the well where an involved ceremony, similar to the “stations of the cross” is conducted. Pilgrims reflect on the Goddess and/or Saint Brigid and how they weave together.

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Gorse

Gorse

Ulex europaeus or common names: Gorse, furze, furse, or whin

Taxonomy: Kingdom: Plantae; Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Fabales; Family: Fabaceae; Subfamily: Faboideae; Genus: Ulex; Species: U. europaeus; Binomial name: Ulex europaeus L.

Gorse is a common name for the Ulex europaeus, a genus of roughly 20 species of spiny evergreen shrubs that are native to Western Europe and Northwest Africa. It is closely related to the ‘Broom’ Family hosting green stems with small leaves. The plant is extremely dry in its branches and leaves – making it a severe fire hazard with an explosive burst with wildland fires. Because of the quick fire explosions and passing on of the waves of flames – gorse is very good at withstanding fire damage and spreads its seed pods best when torched by wildfire. Burnt stumps will sprout new growth from the roots. The branches host extreme spininess with shoots branching out 1-4 cms long. It can grow up to 2-3 meters tall (7-10 feet). Leaves of younger plants are trifoliate resembling a small clover leaf before they evolve into scales or small spines. All of the species host yellow flowers. Many of these species grow in sunny sites in dry, sandy soils. Flowers bloom from late autumn throughout the winter season with flowers strongest in the spring. Some gorse is always in flower and host a coconut-like scent. Gorse is the perfect environment for wildlife nesting and protecting its inhabitants from predators due to the dense thorny cover.
Culinary: The flowers are edible and often used in salads, tea, and in the manufacture of a non-grape based wine. It is high in protein and commonly used to feed livestock as fodder.
Common uses: Used as livestock fodder. Bundles of gorse used to fire traditional bread ovens. According to Jasmine ( jasmine@archaeosophia.co.uk / http://www.archaeosophia.co.uk ) “Gorse may also used in the vitrification of Iron Age hill-forts in Scotland; experimental archaeology has shown that the temperatures it can reach are high enough to turn rock to glass. The fires would have to be kept burning for about a week to maintain the process In 1934, Vere Gordon Childe and his colleague designed a test wall that was 12 feet long, six feet wide and six feet high, which was built for them at Plean Colliery in Stirlingshire. They used old fireclay bricks for the faces and pit props as timber, and filled the cavity between the walls with small cubes of basalt rubble. They covered the top with turf and then piled about four tons of scrap timber and brushwood against the walls and set fire to them. Because of a snowstorm in progress, a strong wind fanned the blazing mixture of wood and stone so that the inner core did attain some vitrification of the rock. Modern foresters can attest to gorse fires raging across hillsides well in excess of 800 degrees centigrade on open ground – a covered, stoked fire fed over time would be capable of vitrification and gorse not only freely covers most Scottish hillsides, but is one species which seems to actively flourish after fires – the perfect renewable resource.” [Thanks Jasmine!]
Folklore: ‘When gorse is in flower, kissing is in fashion” is a common rhyme.



Gorse
The Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

Our Official Page on Gorse is now located at: http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/gorse/.

Our Official Page on “Foxglove” is located at http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/foxglove/.

Photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced without permission of authors Tom Baurley or Leaf McGowan. Photos can be purchased via Technogypsie.com at Technogypsie Photography Services for nominal use fees. Articles and Research papers are done at the Author’s expense. If you donate below, you’ll help contribute to the costs of the research that provided this article. Any Reviews can request a re-review if they do not like the current review or would like to have a another review done. If you are a business, performer, musician, band, venue, or entity that would like to be reviewed, you can also request one (however, travel costs, cost of service (i.e. meal or event ticket) and lodging may be required if area is out of reviewer’s base location at time of request).

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The Blarney Poison Garden


The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

The Poison Garden:
Blarney Castle, Ireland * 021-4385252 * vwww.blarneycastle.ie *

One of the most intriguing features of the castle grounds of Blarney Castle for a botanist, scientist, or herbalist is the castle’s “Poison Garden”. A collection of plants embracing the world’s most deadliest toxins, one can walk amongst danger and see, smell, and view from close proximity what plants take the lives of hundreds of thousands of human lives annually. The garden has been active since the 18th century and a popular tourist attraction along with the other gardens on the grounds as the estate extends to over 1,000 acres of gardens (the poison garden is just a small tiny yard). The garden is located hidden behind the Castle’s battlements. Some of the more toxic or illegal of substances are located within large black conical iron cages to protect them from the tourist and the viewer from their toxicity. Some of the garden’s plants are controlled substances and therefore heavily monitored. During my 2010 and 2012 visits, many of the caged plants were empty, including the cannabis specimen. This specimen was Taken by the local gardai in 2010. Upon a visit in 2013, the Cannabis plant is not only present but enormous.

120313-117
Cannabis plant, Blarney Castle’s Poison Garden, Ireland

Of the ones I photographed and wrote about below, are:

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Cherry Laurel



Cherry Laurel
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Cherry Laurel:
Prunus laurocerasus [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Rosales: Rosaceae: Prunus: Prunus laurocerasus ]

Common Names:
Cherry Laurel, English Laurel

Localities:
Native to regions bordering the Black Sea in southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe, from Albania to Bulgaria east through Turkey and Iran. It is a invasive species in the United Kingdom and Pacific Northwest of the United States.

Species:
There are over 40 cultivars; Numerous varieties of Cherry Laural, Magnofolia is the large leaf’ed one, Otto Luyken is compact with abundant flowers, Schipkaensis is the hardiest wid spreading smaller leaved plant; Zabeliana has narrow willow type leaves.

Description:
A low, compact spreading evergreen shrub or upright small tree, with a maximum height of 20-25 feet and 18 feet width with 2-6 in long / 1/2 to 1 inch wide narrowly oblong smooth edged dark green above and paler green below leaves. The shiny leathery leaves flower into fragrant white 1/4 inch long flowers in narrow cylindrical clusters 2-5 inches long in late spring and summer. The flowers blossom into 1/2 inch long oval green drooping fruits that are believed to be mildly poisonous. It has a rapid growth patern coupled with being a evergreen, tolerant of drought and shade, thereby out competing and killing off native plant species making it an invasive species in some parts of the world.

Cultivation:
Can handle difficult growing conditions including shaded and dry soils.

Common Uses:
Common as a garden ornamental and a favorite in North American yards. Common in landscaping. Leaves repel weevils, fleas, and lice.

Culinary Uses:
Cherries are edible, but the rest of the plant can be poisonous. Leaves are used like bay leaves (laurel family) as a culinary spice albeit the leaves has toxins.

Medicinal Uses:
Most parts of the plant are poisonous including the seeds as they contain cyanogenic glycosides and amygdalin.

Magical Uses:
The leaves can be used to ward off evil spirits.

Folklore and History:


Cherry Laurel
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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The Chaste Tree



Vitus agnus – Chastus – Chaste tree
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Chaste Tree:
Vitex agnus-castus [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Lamiales: Lamiaceae: Vitex: Vitex agnus-castus ]

Common Names: Vitex, Chaste Tree, Chasteberry, Hemp tree, Abraham’s Balm, Chaste Lamb-Tree, Safe Tree, monk, or Monk’s Pepper

Localities:
Native of the Mediterranean region; woodlands of southern Europe and dry areas of western Asia.

Species:

Description:
The Chaste Tree is an sprawling deciduous aromatic tree or large shrub that grows height and equal width of 1-5 meters and is most notable for its aromatic flowers and leaves. Its palmately compound leaves and tender stem grow upwards of 10 cm with 5-7 fingerlike leaflets (similar in appearance to the leaves of a marijuana plant), blossoming into violet to blue to deep purple flowers and fruits on new wood in late spring and early summer that bear medicinal seeds.

Cultivation:
Best cultivated in warm temperate and subtropical regions, native to woodlands and dry areas requiring full sun or partial shade with well-drained soil.

Common Uses:
Is a popular fruit plant used to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development, and supports sustainable landscaping. Branches were used to make furniture.

Culinary Uses:
The seeds are sometimes used as a seasoning, similar to black pepper.

Medicinal Uses:
The seeds of the Chaste Tree are medicinal and harvested by gently rubbing berries loose from the stem. Leaves ,flowers, and berries are consumed as decoctions, tinctures, teas, syrups, elixirs, or raw and help interact with hormonal circadian rhythms, as a tonic for male/female reproductive systems, and improve fertility. It is a carminative, a anxiolytic, a aphrodisiac, and an anaphrodisiac. Extracts have proven effective in managing premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS) and cyclical breast pain (mastalgia). Low doses it is used to suppress sexual desire by inhibiting activation of dopamine 2 receptors, but in higher doses the binding activity is sufficient to reduce the release of prolactin thereby influencing levels of follicle-stimulating hormones and estrogen in women and testosterone in men. It is also described in literature as a fertility-promoting herb used as such from Ancient Greek times to increase odds of conceiving a baby and to reat symptoms associated with hormonal imbalance, skin conditions, and PMS. Science has found confirmation with this to help stimulate and stabilize reproductive hormones involved in ovulation, cycle balance, and menstrual regularity. A hot decoction of the seeds are used as a contraceptive.

Magical Uses:
Believed to invoke chastity and celibacy, quieting desires of the flesh.

Folklore and History: Called Monk’s Pepper as it was once used by monks as a anti-libido medicine to remain chaste – which gave name to the Chaste Tree. It was believed in ancient times to be a anaphrodisiac though others claim it to be an aphrodisiac. The Chaste tree was associated with various Greek festivals – especially one held in honor of Demeter, the Greek Goddess of agriculture / fertility / marriage / and women who remained chaste during the festival who used tree blossoms to adorn the temples during the festivities. Roman virgins carried twigs of the tree as a symbol of their chastity. Hera, the Goddess protectress of marriage, was born under as chaste tree. Pliny claimed it “checks violent sexual desire”. Also said if one keeps a twig in their hand or in their girdle won’t suffer from chafing between the thighs.

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Oleander



Oleander
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Oleander
Nerium oleander [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Gentianales: Apocynaceae: Apocynoideae: Wrightieae: Nerium: Nerium oleander ]

Common Names: Oleander

Localities:
Commom from Morocco to Portugal eastward into the Mediterranean and throughout southern Asia to Yunnan and southern China.

Species:

Description:
The Oleander tree is a poisonous evergreen shrub or small tree that grows upwards of 2-6 meters tall with spreading or erect branches sprouting thick and leathery dark green narrow lanceolate leaves in pairs or whorls of three, upwards of 5-21 cm long, 1-4 cm broad with a margin; blossoming white / pink / red/ or yellow 2.5-5 cm diameter flowers in clusters at the end of each branch with deep 5 lobed corollas with a fringe round the central corolla tube. These produce long narrow capsulated fruits 5-23 cm long that open at maturity to release numerouse downy seeds.

Cultivation:
Grows typically around dry stream beds. Best in warm subtropical regions. It is drought tolerant and tolerate occasional light frost. It is deer resistant and tolerant of poor soils and drought. It is very easy to grow as it is adaptable and requires little maintenance able to survive without water for weeks.

Common Uses:
Gardening ornamental, oddly very common in school yards though very toxic to children.

Culinary Uses:
If ingested in sufficient quantity is very toxic.

Medicinal Uses:
Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants in the world with numerous toxic compounds. The most potent toxins in oleander are oleandrin and neriine which are cardiac glycosides which are present in all parts of the plant, concentrated in the sap. The bark contains rosagenin known for its strychnine-like effects. Upwards of 10-20 leaves consumed by an adult can create adverse reactions and a single leaf lethal to a child. In Southern India, mashing and ingesting oleander seeds are a common method for suicide. Ingestion creates gastrointestinal and cardiac effects, with nauseau, vomiting, excess salivation, abdominal pain, diarrhea with or withou blood, and colic. Poisoning requires immediate treatment, with charcoal being common to absorb toxins and digoxin immune fab as the best antidote. It is very toxic to livestock with as little as 100 g of leaves able to kill a adult horse. There are internet rumors that Oleander is a potential treatment for skin cancer and for anti-viral treatments. It has been endorsed in the supplement “OPC Extract” for its use in treating HIV.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: Its name was derived from the old latin name for flower used first in the ancient city of Volubilis in Morocco. Pliny the Elder wrote in 77 CE that despite its toxicity was a effective snakebite cure if taken in wine with rue. Historically used in Mesopotamia 15th c. BCE for healing; Babylonians mixed oleander with licorice to treat hangovers, and Arab physicians used it as a cancer treatment as early as 8th century CE. The Bible refers to Oleander as “the Desert Rose”.

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Poison Ivy



Poison Ivy/Oak
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Poison Ivy
Toxicodendron radicans [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Rosids: Sapindales: Anacardiaceae: Toxicodendron: Toxicodendron radicans ]

Common Names:

Localities:
Poison Ivy grows throughout North America, in the United States and through Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba of Canada as well as the mountainous regions of Mexico.

Species:
Its similar species, poison oak – Toxicodendron rydbergii is found in the western United States.

Description:
Poison Ivy is a dioecious poisonous North American plant growing either as a trailing vine (upwards of 10-25 cm), a shrub (upwards of 1.2 meters), or as a climbing vine growing on trees. It is an understory plant in the forest. This vine has reddish hairs that are like leaves, that branch off light to dark green leaves that turn bright red in the fall. Leaflets of mature leaves are shiny ranging from 3-12 cm long, but rarely upwards of 30 cm in length, each leaflet has few to no teeth along its edges and hosting a smooth surface, clustering alternate on the vine that produces numerous aerial rootlets as well as adventitious roots that can spread from rhizomes or root crowns. It blossoms inconspicuous yellowish or greenish white flowers bundled in clusters up to 8 cm above the leaves from May to July. Flowers fruit into berry-like drupes that mature from August to November with a greyish white color feeding many birds and animals that disperse the seeds in their droppings.

Cultivation:
Is found in wooded areas along plant edge areas, in exposed rocky areas, open fields, and disturbed areas. It is shade tolerant. It is not sensitive to soil moisture but does not grow in deserts or arid conditions. It can habitate a wide variety of soil types, as well as areas subject to seasonal flooding, or brackish water.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:

Medicinal Uses:
Poison Ivy produces urushiol, a clear liquid in the sap that causes an itching rash to those who encounter it. It creates a reaction that is urushiol-induced to cause dermatitis that 70-85% of the human population allergically reacts to that can progres to anaphylaxis. Poison Ivy attacks upwards of 350,000 people a year. If the plant is burned and the smoke inhaled, it will cause a rash on the lungs causing pain and possible fatal respiratory issues; If eaten it will damage the mouth and digestive tract. The rash can lasts 1-4 weeks depending on severity and treatment. Its oil can stay active for several years, so handling dead leaves and vines, exposed gloves or clothes, can cause a reaction.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: “Leaves of three, let it be”; “Raggy rope, don’t be a dope”; “One, two, three? don’t touch me!”; “Berries white, run in fright”; “Berries white danger in sight”; “LOnger middle stem, stay away from them”; “Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing”; “Side leaflets like mitens, will itch like the dickens”; “If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there”; and “If it’s got hair, it won’t be fair”; are folk rhymes to teach children to avoid the plant.


Poison Ivy/Oak
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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White Hellebore: Veratrum album


Veratrum album, White helleborene
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

White Hellebore
Veratrum album [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Monocots: Liliales: Melanthiaceae: Veratrum: Veratrum album ]

Common Names: Bearsfoot, stinking hellebore, sabadilla, European Hellebore, Weisse Niesswurz, False Helleborine, White Veratrum

Localities:
White Hellebore is common throughout Europe, Lapland to Italy but does not occur in the British Isles; also found in Eurasia, the Alps, the Pyrenees, Russia, East Asia, Siberia, Northern China, Japan, and Northern Africa.

Species:
Helleborus orientalis (used for indigestion and diarrhea); Veratrum Californicum is a species found in Colorado and the Western U.S>;

Description:
White Hellebore is a perennial herb that grows up to 3.5 to 5 feet high with a blackish or brownish-white fleshy oblong horizontal rhizome that is as thick as a finger, which when fresh has an alliaceous odor but loses its smell fast as it drys. It is whitish or pale yellow white internally. Stem is straight, round, and striated that sprouts alternate plaited and broad-ovate leaves that blossom yellowish-white hermaphrodite flowers that have 8 lines in diameter and five large petal like sepals with 8-10 inconspicuous tubular petals with many stamens 3-10 pistils.

Cultivation:
Grows in moist grassy sub-alpine meadows and open woodlands.

Common Uses:
White Helloebore is primarily used for veterinary medicine. It was first used as a pesticide in Rome and Greece. It is used externally to kill lice. It was one of the four classic poisons in the classical world.

Culinary Uses:
The rhizome is sweet tasting at first, then biter and acrid leaving the tongue tingly and numb.

Medicinal Uses:
White Hellebore is extremely poisonous as a violent irritant and is one of the principal poisons used in European history for arrows and daggers. The parts of the plant used are primarily the root and rhizome. When powdered it is ash-colored and deteriorates the longer you keep it. It contains jervine, pseudo-jervine, rubijervine, veratralbine, and veratrine. It has fatty matter composed of olein, sterin, and volatile acids. If sniffed it causes profuse runny nose, when swallowed it causes sore mouth, swelling of the tongue, gastric heat, burning, severe vomiting and profuse diarrhea. It produces narcotic symptoms, stupor, and convulsions. This leads to vertigo, weakness, tremors, feeble pulse, loss of voice, dilation of pupils, spasms of the ocular muscles, blindness, cold sweating, and mental disturbances. Poisoning is treated by injections of coffee, opiates, and demulcents. In minor doses it is efficient on bowel disorders and/or gushing watery diarrhea with spasmodic or cramp-like actions on the intestines and is why its often used to treat cholera infantum, cholera morbus, and asiatic cholera. Originally used in cerebral affections such as mania, epilepsy, gout, and sometimes as a substitute for colchicum. It was on occasion used as an ointment for skin diseases such as scabies or to kill lice. It was also used as an errhine or sternutatory when diluted with starch for treating amaurosis and chronic affections of the brain. It has a paralyzing effect on the nervous system though scarcely used internally even though its alkaloids are used in the pharmaceudical industry. It contains the amorphous alkaloid Veratralbine (C26H43N05) and the three crystallize alkaloids ervine (C26H37NO3), pseudo-Jervine (C29H43NO7), and Rubijervive (C26H43NO3). Today it is primarily used to kill lice and cure scabies as many of its other applications are too risky. Historically though used to treate toothaches, epistaxis, brochial and respiratory affections, asthma, pneumonia, whooping cough, gastric disorders, cholera, colic, constipation, diarrhea, pregnancy disorders, sciatica, hernia, inflammation of the uterus, influenza, typhoid fever, yellow fever, measles, scarlatina, tapeworm, meningitis, epilepsy, opium poisoning, lock jaw, collapse, fainting, angina pecoris, and apoplexy.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: It is in the family of four classic deadly poisons used throughout history along with deadly nightshade, hemlock, and aconite. Its name “Hellebore” comes from the Greek “Elein” which means “to injure” and “bora” meaning “food”. Its use dates back to 1400 BCE when it was used as a pergative to cleanse the mind of all perverse habits .


Veratrum album, White helleborene
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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Foxglove: Digitalis L.


In the field at Lanyon Quoit, Cornwall, England

Foxglove

Digitalis L.; common names: ‘Witches’ Gloves’, ‘Fairy’s Glove’, ‘Gloves of Our Lady’, ‘Virgin’s Glove’, ‘Fairy Caps’, ‘Folk’s Glove’, ‘Fairy Thimbles’, ‘fairy-folks-fingers’, ‘lambs-tongue-leaves’, ‘bloody fingers’, ‘deadman’s bells’.

Taxonomy: Kingdom: Plantae; Angiosperms; Eudicots; Asterids; Lamiales; Plantaginaceae; Digitalis L.; several species including: Digitalis cariensis; Digitalis ciliata; Digitalis davisiana; Digitalis dubia; Digitalis ferruginea; Digitalis grandiflora; Digitalis laevigata; Digitalis lanata; Digitalis leucophaea; Digitalis lutea; Digitalis obscura; Digitalis parviflora; Digitalis purpurea; Digitalis thapsi; Digitalis trojana; Digitalis viridiflora.

This beautiful plant has meant a lot to me through my life – mainly because it saved my daughter’s life. As my daughter was born premature, her heart didn’t close/form properly before arrival – and the first part of her life she had to take dijoxin which is formulated from the Foxglove plant. What a wonderful essence on this planet. Digitalis or Foxglove, is over 20 species of herbaceous perennials, biennials, and shrubs that are native to western Europe, western/central Asia, and northwestern Africa. Leaves are spirally arranged, simple 10-35 cm long/5-12 cm broad grey-green downy with fine toothed margins forming a tight rosette during the first year of the plant’s life. Second year plants are typically 1-2 m tall with showy, terminal, elongated cluster leaves with tubular, pendant, and colorful flowers that are spotted within the flower tube’s bottom. The numerous tubular flowers bloom off a spike ranging in color from purple to white during the summer months. Flowering occurs usually early summer with some flower stems developing later in the season. “Digitalis” means “finger-like” describing to the ease with which one of its flowers can be fitted over a fingertip. The folk name “fox glove” may come from its similar shape and appearance to the ‘foxes glew’, a historic instrument that consisted of a ring of bells hung on an arched support. Its tubular flowers blossom off a tall spike. The colors of the flowers vary from purple to pink, white, and yellow. Digitalis purpurea, aka “Common Foxglove” is the most common species that is grown often as an ornamental plant. Common foxglove produces only a stem with long basal leaves. It grows in acidic soils under partial sunlight to deep shade, found commonly along roadsides, open woods, woodland clearings, moorlands, bogs, heath margins, sea-cliffs, rocky mountain slopes, and hedge banks.

Cultivation:
Foxglove prefers partial shade in a well-drained acidic soil that is rich in humus. Established plants will tolerate dry shade. The plant is susceptible to crown rot and needs adequate drainage.

Common uses:
Foxglove is common to gardens for its flowers and appeal.

Medicinal: Digitalis is the main ingredient in the cardiac glycoside “digoxin”. ‘Digitalin’ is also a group of cardiac medicines extracted from foxglove. These are used to treat heart conditions by increasing cardiac contractility and as an antiarrhythmic agent to control the heart rate, particularly in irregular or fast atrial fibrillation. Some use digitalis as a weight loss aid even though this is proven unsafe. Folklorists have also suggested its success with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Historically used for heart treatment. It has also been employed in the treatment of internal hemorrhage, in inflammatory diseases, in delirium tremors, in epilepsy, in acute mania and various other diseases, with real or supposed benefits. It is also a powerful diuretic and valuable remedy for dropsy. County Cork, Ireland it was found to be handy in taking the soft leaves at the plant’s center to utilize for healing cuts. It is for strengthening the heart and regulating heartbeat.


Foxglove

Safety: Very toxic, those suffering an overdose of digitalis may experience anorexia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sometime xanthopsia (jaundiced or yellow vision) with the appearance of halos or blurred outlines. Bradycardia can also occur. Depending on the species, it may contain several deadly physiological and chemically related cardiac and steroidal glycosides which lead to the folk names “Dead Man’s Bells” and “Witches Gloves”. The entire plant is toxic including roots and seeds. A nibble can be enough to cause death. Symptoms include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, wild hallucinations, delirium, severe headache, irregular and slow pulse, tremors, various cerebral disturbances, especially of a visual nature, convulsions, and deadly disturbances of the heart. The plant is toxic to animals including all classes of livestock and poultry, as well as felids and canids.
Other uses: Ornamental plant found in gardens. Development of poison through history. Domestic use of the leaves to darken the lines engraved on stone floors creating a mosaic like appearance. 19th century Dubliners dried the leaves and used it as snuff by old women.
Folklore: Northern legends stating that bad fairies gave these blossoms to the fox so that s/he might put them onto their toes to soften tread when prowling among the roosts. Other legends state that the blossoms are to mark where the elves had placed their fingers or that they were warning signs for the baneful juices secreted by the plant as in Ireland’s name for it as “Dead Man’s Thimbles”. Irish folklore considered it unlucky to bring into the home. The Latin “Digitalis” translates to “measuring a finger’s breadth”. It was named after “Fox glove” after “folk’s glove” whereas folk referred to woodland faeries and believed to be their gloves that they wore during raids on chicken coops blaming the thefts on thieves.


Foxglove near Lanyon Quiot, Cornwall, England

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Camellia: Green Tea



Camellia sinensis Tea
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Camellia: Green Tea
Camellia sinensis [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Ericales: Theaceae: Camellia: Camellia sinensis ]

Common Names: Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh, black tea, tea plant, tea tree, tea shrub

Localities:
It is native to mainland China South and Southeast Asia, but is cultivated across the world in tropical and subtropical regions.

Species:

Description:
The infamous Chinese “Green Tea” plant, it is a flowering evergreen shrub/ small tree/ plant that can grow upwards of 6 feet from a strong taproot. It blossoms into yellow-white 2.5-4 cm diameter and 7-8 petal flowers.

Cultivation:
It is commonly cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates that have at least 127 cm annual rainfall. The plant will grow into a tree naturally. It typically blossoms in the fall. It needs full sun to partial shade and well drained, neutral to slightly acidic soil rich in organic mater.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:
Most commonly used for Chinese Tea, especially White Tea, Green Tea, Oolong, Pu-erh tea, and black tea differing on its oxidation. Its seeds are pressed into tea oil that is used for seasoning and cooking oil. It is a natural caffeine source and is used as a tea to gain energy.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are used in Chinese medicine to treat asthma (as a brochodilator), angina pectoris, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and other illnesses. It is good for treating bad breath. The tea is used to increase alertness (contains caffeine), cancer prevention, lowering cholesterol, and preventing Parkinson’s disease. Over-use has had various side effecs including nauseau, diarrhea, upset stomach, headaches, and dizziness.

Magical Uses:
Traditionally used in ceremonies to increase awareness during long meditations.

Folklore and History: The plant is named after the Latin term “Sinensis” which means “Chinese”. “Camellia” is named after the Rev. George Kamel who was a 1661-1706 Czech-born Jesuit priest who was a popular botanist and missionary to the Phillipines.

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Rhubarb: Rheum rhabarbarum


Rhubarb
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Rhubarb
Article by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions © November 23, 2010 published – all rights reserved.
Original and extensive article at http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=1215

Rheum rhabarbarum [ Plantae: Eudicots: Core Eudicots: Polygonaceae: Rheum: R. rhabarbarum ]

Common Names:

Localities:
Grown throughout the world in heated greenhouses, it is a common vegetable all over.

Species:

Description:
Rhubarbs are a popular herbaceous perennial plant that grows up from short thick rhizomes sprouting with large triangular-shaped leaves with long fleshy petioles blossoming into a large compound of leafy greenish-white to rose-red inflorescence small grouped flowers. The crimson rhubarb stalks vary in color from crimson red, speckled light pink, or light green.

Cultivation:
It is commonly grown in hothouses which is ready for harvest mid-late spring though grown year-round in warm climates. It can be forced or encouraged by raising of the local temperature as it is a seasonal plant. It can be planted in containers.

Common Uses:
A rich brown dye close in color to walnut husks is created from its root.

Culinary Uses:
The leaves are toxic. Fresh raw stalks are crisp with a strong tart taste, commonly cooked as an alternative to celery but used in pies and other foods for its tart flavor. It is considered a vegetable. It is often dehydrated and infused with fruit juice such as strawberries to mimic strawberry rhubarb pie. It is used in pies, jams, jellies,fruit wines, sauces, and preserves. It was a quick snack for children in the UK who dipped it in sugar.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are toxic and poisonous as it has oxalic acid, nephrotoxic, and corrosive acid in its leaves. The roots are used as a strong laxative for over 5,000 years. It has an astringent effect on the mucous membranes of the mouth and nose, is rich in anthraquinones, emodin, rhein, and are cathartic. It is commonly used as a dieting aid.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: Rhubarb is associated with the legend of Shen Nung, the Yan Emperor, in 2700 BCE as a strong medicinal herb and was harvested by Marco Polo in his travels. It was believed to be derived from Rha, the ancient name of the Volga, where the plant was found growing on its banks. Comes from the Greek root “rheo” meaning “to flow” in relation o its purgative properties. During the Ming Dynasty, a Ming general attempted suicide by eating rhubarb medicines.

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Black Cohosh


Black Cohosh
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Black Cohosh
Article by Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions © November 23, 2010 published – all rights reserved.
Original and extensive article at http://www.treeleavesoracle.org/treelore/?p=1215

Cimicifuga racemosa, Actea racemosa [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Ranunculales: Ranunculaceae: Actaea: Cimicifuga racemosa, Actea racemosa ]

Common Names: black cohosh, black bugbane, black snakeroot, macrotys, bugbane, bugwort, rattleroot, rattleweed, or fairy candle

Localities:
North America; extreme south of Ontario south to central Georgia; west to Missouri and Arkansas; Found throughout areas of eastern and central United States.

Species:

Description:
Black Cohosh is part of the buttercup family. It is a tall smooth glabrous herbaceous perennial plant that has large compound leaves sprouting up from an underground rhizome reaching a height of 25-60 centimeters. Its leaves grow upwards of 1 meter long and broad in repeated sets of three leaflets and having a coarsely toothed serrated margin. It blossoms flowers in late spring and early summer on a tall stem roughly 75-250 cm tall forming racemes upwards of 50 cm in length with no petals or sepals, rather tight clusters of 55-110 white 5-10 mm long stamens surrounding a white stigma and hosting a sweet fetid smell attracting flies, gnats, and beetles. It produces a dry follicle fruit 5-10 mm long with a carpel containing several seeds.

Cultivation:
The plant grows in a variety of woodland habitats especially small woodland openings. In a garden, best sown in dependably moist fairly heavy soil.

Common Uses:
The juice of the plant is used as an insect repellent.

Culinary Uses:

Medicinal Uses:
Extracts have analgesic, sedative, and anti-inflammatory properties. Roots and rhizomes used primarily for women’s health, it was used by Native Americans and is currently used for menstrual cramps, hot flashes, arthritis, muscle pain, sore throats, coughs, kidney problems, depression, and indigestion. A salve made of Black Cohosh is used to treat snake bites. Today in herbal healing and homeopathy, it is used to treat hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness, menopause, menstrual cramps, menopausal symptoms, mood disturbances, heart palpitations, and bloating. It is the fresh or dried roots and underground stems (rhizones) that is used for herbal treating. Its active chemical compound is 26-deoxyactein. Science has found that Black Cohosh will improve some menopausal symptoms short term for upwards of six months. It hasn’t been determined as per the safety in used for pregnant or breastfeeding women or children. It is sometimes used by midwives to induce labor. It is not recommended for those with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovaries cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, using cisplatin for chemotherapy, or other conditions without discussing with a physician first. Side effects can include indigestion, headaches, nauseau, perspiration, vomiting, heaviness in the legs, weight gain, and low blood pressure; while excessive use could cause liver damage, seizures, visual disturbances, and slow or irregular heartbeats. Black Cohosh also contains salicylic acid, so is reactant to those allergic to aspirin or salicylates.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: Traditionally Black Cohosh was used by various Native American tribes as a folk remedy for women’s health conditions. It is believed to possess estrogen-like essences and therefore very helpful in treating women concerns, and while it works, science has not yet been able to explain its process of success.


Black Cohosh
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

120313-136

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Castor Oil Plant: Ricinus communis


Castor Oil Plant
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Castor Oil Plant
Ricinus communis [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Malpighiales: Euphorbiaceae: Acalyphoideae: Acalypheae: Ricininae: Ricinus communis ]

Common Names: Castor, Castor Oil, Bofareira, Castor Oil Plant, Castor Bean Plant, Mexico Seed, Oil Plant, Palma Christi, Pei-ma

Localities:
Originally native to Eastern Africa, southeastern Mediterranean Basin, and India, now cultivated throughout hot climates around the world especially Africa and Southern Asia.

Species:

Description:
The Castor Oil plant is an evergreen shrub or tree that grows upwards of 30-40 feet tall naturally, and found smaller in the cultivated varieties. The plant produces large broad deeply lobed purple-bronze to gray-green/dark maroon palm-shaped leaves off long stalks that blossom green petalless female flowers born on clusters above the male flowers that give birth in development to prickly bur-like capsules containing three red seeds.

Cultivation:
Seeds are gathered annually when ripe and soaked in the sun for maturity.

Common Uses:
Throughout Europe and America, it is used as a foliage plant for gardens. It was used by the Egyptians as a lamp oil. Because it has a low freezing point, it is used to lubricate airplane engines, in hydraulic brake fluids, biodegradable laundry detergents, paints, and varnishes. It is now used as a biodiesel. The seeds are used by kids for slingshot balls. The seeds are also used in jewelry for necklaces and bracelets (though highly not recommended due to toxicity).It is used for lubrication, burning, and leather dressing.

Culinary Uses:
Processed, the oil is used to create polyglycerol polyricinoleate (PGPR) as an additive or substitute for cocoa butter in chocolate production.

Medicinal Uses:
The ancient Egyptians used the castor oil as an unguent and to purge their systems three times a month by drinking the oil mixed with beer. Because the oil is so poisonous, the Greeks and Romans used the oil only externally. By the 18th century it was used as a laxative. The castor oil bean contains one of the world’s most deadliest toxins – ricin. Seeds contain glycerides of ricinoleic acid, ricin, ricinine, and lectins. A single bean ingested can kill a child. Two beans can kill an adult. If poisoned, symptoms may be delayed upwards of 36 hours, but can start to appear within 2-4 hours causing a burning sensation in mouth and throat, abdominal pain, purging, and bloody diarrhea. Severe dehydration and a drop in blood pressure and decrease in urine appear within several days, and deeath within 3-5 days if not treated. It is pretty easy however to extract the oil from the bean bypassing the ricin by hulling and crushing the seeds below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, yielding a clear yellowish poison-free oil rich in ricinolein that irritates the intestines. This is where it is invaluable as a laxative or purgative. It prompts a bowel movement within 3-5 hours after ingestion. It is used medicinally to clear the digestive tract of poisoning. It is tolerated by the skin and thereby found in medicinal and cosmetic preparations. In India, the oil is massaged into breasts after childbirth to stimulate milk flow, or as a poultice to relieve swollen and tender joints. The Chinese use crushed seeds to treat facial palsy. The ancients used the oil to improve hair growth and texture, and to brighten the whites of eyes.

Magical Uses:
Castor oil was used in sacrifices to please the Gods.

Folklore and History: Evidence found in 4,000 year old Egyptian tombs contained small glossy mottled 1/2 inch or less long polished castor beans that had religious significance from the beginning of civilization. “Ricinus” is Latin for “tick” because it has markings and a bump at its end of the seed that resembles ticks. “Castor Oil” comes from its use as a replacement for “castoreum” a perfume made from the dried perineal glands of beavers. Also related to the common name of “Palm of Christ” derived by its reputation to heal wounds and cure ailments. Used in India since 2,000 BCE for lamp oil and as a laxative, purgative, and cathartic.


Castor Oil Plant
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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Deadly Nightshade: Atropa belladonna


Deadly Nightshade
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Deadly Nightshade
Atropa belladonna [ Plantae: Angiosperms: Eudicots: Asterids: Solanales: Solanaceae: Atropa: Atropa belladonna ]

Common Names: Nightshade, Deadly Nightshade, Atropa, Belladonna, divale, dwale, banewort, devil’s cherries, naughty man’s cherries, black cherry, devil’s herb, great morel, and dwayberry.

Localities:
Native to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. Naturalized in North America.

Species:

Description:
Belladonna is common weed that is a branching perennial herbaceous plant that hosts extremely poisonous foliage and berries. It is often found growing as a sub-shrub upwards of 1.5 meters tall and 18 centimeters long ovate leaves producing tyrian purple bell-shaped flowers with green tinges and faintly scented. The fruits are 1 cm diameter sweet tasting berries green ripening to shiny black. It belongs to the Solanaceae family with its family of potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, jimsonweed, tobacco, wolfberry, and chili peppers. It has a thick, fleshy, white root that grows upwards of 6 inches long and is branching.

Cultivation:
Often found in shady, limestone-rich soils. Germination of the seeds is difficult, even though a weed that naturally takes over disturbed soils throughout the world. Germination can take several weeks under alternating temperatures.

Common Uses:
An early cosmetic and poison. Rarely used in gardens but if grown in a garden usually for its large upright habit and show berries. As a cosmetic, drops were created to dilate women’s pupils.

Culinary Uses:
A banana flavored liquid called Donnagel PG was once available in the United States until 1992.

Medicinal Uses:
The Deadly Nightshade has extremely toxic foliage and berries that contain tropane alkaloids including the toxins of scopolamine and hyoscyamine that can cause bizarre delirium and hallucinations. It also anticholinergic properties. The ingestion of 2-5 berries can kill a child and 10-20 berries can kill an adult. The root is the most lethal and ingestion of a single leaf can be fatal to an adult as well. Nightshade is used to produce anticholinergics and is the derivative for the drug atropine. It was used both as a medicine and a poison. It was also used as an anesthetic for surgery. Lotions are made to treat neuralgia, gout, rheumatism and sciatica. As a drug it affects the brain, bladder, and can allay cardiac palpitation as well as a powerful antispasmodic in intestinal colic and spasmodic asthma. It has been used through history to increase pupil size in ladies but believed with prolonged use to cause blindness. Symptoms from ingestion can include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions. The only antidote is physostigmine or pilocarpine. It is also toxic for domestic animals that ingestion can cause narcosis and paralysis with the exception of cattle and rabbits that don’t seem to be affected. The chemical scopolamine derived from Belladonna is used to create a hydrobromide salt to treat GI, motion sickness, and to potentiate the analgesic and anxiolytic effects of opioid analgesics. The chemical hyoscyamine is used as a sulphate or hydrobromide to treate GI and Parkinson’s Disease. It has also been used for adjunctive therapy in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (irritable colon, spastic colon, mucous colitis) and acute enterocolitis. The berries in history were used to treat headache, menstrual symptoms, peptic ulcer disease, histamine reaction, inflammation, and motion sickness. It is used as a recreational drug alongside jimsonweed to create vivid hallucinations and delirium but is very dangerous due to risk of unintentional fatal overdose. Atropine can cause memory disruption and lead to severe confusion. Was also used in “Twilight Sleep” remedies to deaden pain and consciousness during childbirth. It is a Narcotic, diuretic, sedative, antispasmodic, and mydriatic.

Magical Uses:
It is believed that witches mixed belladonna, opium poppy, and other plants to create a hallucinogenic flying ointment to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. Often applied with a broomstick dowel to the genitalia, gave lending to the legend that witches fly around on broomsticks. The plant is believed to belong to the devil who trims and tends it at his leisure only distracted from it during the Walpurgis event when he is preparing for the witche’s sabbat. Priests were believed to drink an infusion of it before worshipping and invoking the aid of Bellona, the Goddess of War.

Folklore and History: The Romans used it as a poison (as in Augustus and wife of Claudius using it to kill their contemporaries) and was commonly used to make poison tipped arrows. It was a poison used by Agrippina the Younger and Livia to kill the Emperor Augustus. Macbeth of Scotland used it to kill one of King Duncan’s lieutenants during a truce to poison the troops of the invading Harold Harefoot of England. It was also the primary ingredient for the poison used for Juliet (in Romeo and Juliet tragedy). The name “Atropa” comes from “Atropos” one of the three fates in Greek mythology, after the Greek Goddess “Atropos”, that would determine the course of a man’s life by the weaving of threads that symbolize their birth, events in their lives, and their death with her cutting these threads to mark the latter. The name “bella donna” comes from the Italian for “beautiful woman” probably originating from its use as a facial cosmetic and to increase pupil size.


The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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Common Box



Common Box
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


Common Box
Buxus sempervirens [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Buxales: Buxaceae: Buxus: Buxus sempervirens ]

Common Names: Common Box, European Box, Boxwood.

Localities:
It is native to coastal regions especially in western and southern Europe, Northwest Africa, southwest Asia, from southern England south to northern Morocco and east through the Mediterranean to Turkey.

Species:

Description:
The Common Box is a very dense small-leaved evergreen, growing usually naturally in coastal regions, and loves chalky soil. It hosts dark green to yellow-green oval glossy leathery leaves arranged in opposite pairs upwardcs of 15-30 mm long and 5-13 broad, that is home to a unusual sweet smell that gives blossom to small tufty yellow flowers in late winter. The flowers are hermaphrodite and inconspicuous, greenish-yellow, with no petals or insect pollinated and bears a 3-lobed capsule bearing fruit that contains from 3-6 seeds. It is slow growing and shade tolerant. It grows upward of 1-9 meters tall with upwards of a 20 cm diamtere trunk. The box loves soil derived from chalk, limestone, and is often found as an understory in forests of larger trees.

Cultivation:
Box works best in most normal soils, especially chalky soils, and where it can reach its ultimate height of 30 feet. Its used to being exposed to the wind absorbing that impact. It grows 4-6 inches a year on average, likes dry shade and wet sites.

Common Uses:
Commonly usd for topiary work, landscaping, and gardening especially as hedges. Wood is very hard and heavy which puts excellent applications as a base wood for cabinets, clarinets, engravings, marquetry, woodturning, tool handles, mallet heads, and as a substitute for ivory.

Culinary Uses:

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves were once used as an alternate for quinine and used to reduce fevers. Box contains the alkaloid “buxine” that causes vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, muscular spasms, and paralysis. The leaves are poisonous. Also planted to keep livestock out of gardens. Oils from the leaves can cause skin rashes. Buxine will also cause respiratory paralysis in humans and livestock. Some of it has also been used as a chemotherapeutic agent in cancer therapy. French works claim an extract made from Box is helpful in reducing the amount of HIV virus in an infected person.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History: The plant is named after the latin name “Buxus” for “box” because of its use in making small, finely carved boxes called “pyxos” in Greece. “Buxus” is also Latin for “Flute”. “Box” is believed not to be able to be read by sorcerers and witches who usually can tell you the numbers of every branch, twig, and leaf of every plant – but box. Apparently the “Box” is so compact that when a witch tries to count the tiny leaves, she loses her place and has to start again. It is believed to be planted by doorways to prevent witches from entry – as it should captivate the witches attention and have them stop to count the leaves over and over again forgetting about entry into the house. Also planting in a flower bed will distract witches wishing to steal plants as it is an ingredient in flying ointments.


Common Box
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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European Mandrake



European Mandrake
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland


European Mandrake
Mandragora officinarum [ Plantae: Solanaceae: Mandragora officinarum ]

Common Names: Alraunwurzel, Mandrake, Satan’s Apple, mandragora, love apple, Circe’s plant, Dudaim.

Localities:
European Mandrake is native to southern Europe, particularly the Mediterranean, and especially Greece and Italy. Found often in uncultivated fields and stoney wastelands.

Species:

Description:
A stemless plant that hosts a short brown thick massive root grouping spreading downwards of 3-4 feet deep similar looking like parsnip. The short stem is topped by ovate leaves, blossoming with small greenish-yellow or purple bell-shaped flowers off 3-4″ stalks bearing fruit of orange color fleshy berries. Its often confused with the American Mandrake (may apple), which it has no relation to, except similar fleshy yellow-orange fruits. The roots are often forked look like a human body shape with head, arms, and legs.

Cultivation:
Can be grown from seed in deep planters. Seeds usually germinate within 14 days. Does best in deep well drained soil and full or partial sun exposure.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:
In Israel the fruits are used to make alcohol.

Medicinal Uses:
European Mandrake is considered one of the most magical herbs in the apothecary. It is an soporific, anesthetic, emetic, anodyne, Parasympathetic depressant, hallucinogen, hypnotic, and a poison. It is used as a narcotic and a pain reliever. It eases rheumatism. It is used often for sex and fertility magick. European Mandrake is used to treat melancholy, as an emetic, and an anesthetic. It is also very poisonous. The fruits are known to increase sperm count, treat impotence, and as a sex enhancer. Popular anesthetic during the Middles Ages and as a narcotic during the Elizabethan period.

Magical Uses:
In Israel the fruits are made into a aphrodisiac and to boost fertility. Known to heighten female interest in sex. European Mandrake is also used to expel demons. A mandrake root placed in the home will protect it from evil spirits. Money stored near European Mandrake will increase its abundance and increases prosperity. Also used for healing, inducing love, facilitating pregnancy, and restful sleep. It enhances creativity, psychic awareness and abilities. THe root carved into amulets of protection, love attraction, aura purity, and as a emblem of magick. Used to create “Moon Water” by taking a piece of the root under moonlight to be submerged into a chalice of water.

Folklore and History:Because of the anthropomorphic shape of the root, much belief in the root being a humanoid spirit is found in the magical repertoires that if one uprooted it from the ground it would shriek and screams so intense it would cause death unto those who heard it or make them go insane. Many collectors would loosen the soil around the root, attach a cord to the collar of a dog, and have the dog pull the root from the ground otherwise collected in moonlight with a proper prayer and ritual. Believed human hands should not come in contact with he plant. It is used to invoke Circe, Diana, and Saturn. It is related to the element of fire and the planet Mercury.


European Mandrake
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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Opium Poppy: Papaver somniferum


Opium Poppy
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Opium Poppy
Papaver somniferum [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Ranunculales: Papaveraceae: Papaver: Papaver somniferum ]

Common Names: poppy tears, lachryma papaveris.

Localities:
Grown ornamenatlly throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

Species:
There are many varieties of Poppy that varie from species to species, most notable through shape of the petals, numbers of flowers, fruits, seeds, colors, and production of opium.

Description:
The Opium Poppy, is a world class illegal drug that is derived from Papaver somniferum.

Cultivation:
To cultivate the Opium Poppy in the UK does not require a license, but does require one if you plant to extract opium for medicinal purposes. It is illegal to extract opium or any of the alkaloids in Italy and in the United States its a Schedule 2 controlled substance even prohibiting opium poppy and poppy straw. It is not enforced for poppies that is grown or sold as ornamentals or for food even though opium tea with high morphine content can be abstracted from poppies found at flower shops.

Common Uses:
It is a real popular plant for ornamental purposes, especially as the “common garden poppy”. Used as gifts or ornamentals in flower shops and gardens. Poppy seed oil is used for the manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soaps.

Culinary Uses:
Poppy seeds are an important food item and is the source for poppyseed oil. The oil is used widely for cooking oil. The seeds are very common to be found on muffins, breads, pies, and bagels. If someone consumes four poppy seed bagels, they could test positive for narcotics. Poppy seed paste (made from oil and seeds) is used in a nut roll called Polish makowiec. Poppy seeds are commonly used in North and South Indian Cuisine and are called “gasagasa”, “khuskhus”, “gasagasalu”, and “posto dana”. They are also commonly used in curries.

Medicinal Uses:
Opium is the source of many opiates in drug culture and pharmaceutical medicine such as morphine, thebaine, codeine, papaverine, and noscapine. It is a astringent, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypnotic, narcotic, and sedative. Opium was used throughout history for treating asthma, stomach sickness, and bad eyesight. Opium is the dried latex that comes from the opium poppy. This substance contains upwards of 12% morphine, an alkaloid used to produce heroine. Opium, morphine, and heroine are used as pain relievers, tranquilizers, and sleep aids. Poppy was also used for toothaches and coughs.

Magical Uses:

Folklore and History:

The latin name means “sleep bringing poppy” which describes the sedative properties of the plant. Images of poppies are found on Sumerian artifacts over 4,000 years old. It was known to the Ancient Greeks who manufactured opium from it and found archaeologically at Kalapodi and Kastanas. In the 1830’s, Britain and China had wars over the sale of Opium called “The Opium Wars”. Late 1800’s to early 1900’s narcotic alkaloids morphine and codeine were available in over the counter drugs such as cough syrup and teething medications.


Opium Poppy
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

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Poison Hemlock



Poison Hemlock
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Poison Hemlock
Conium maculatum [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Apiales: Apiaceae: Apioideae: Conium maculatum ]

Common Names:
Hemlock, Poison Hemlock, Devils’ porridge, beaver poison, herb bennet, musquash root, poison parsley, spotted corobane, and spotted hemlock, California fern, deadly hemlock, Nebraska fern, poison parsley, poison stinkweed, snake-weed, spotted hemlock, wode whistle.

Localities:
Native to Europe and the Mediterranean, West Asia, North as well as South Africa. It is naturalized in other parts of Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Species:

Description:
Poison Hemlock is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant that can grow upwards of 2.5 meters tall with a smooth green spotted or red/purple streaked lower smooth stem and finely divided, lacy, triangular leaves (similar to that of parsley) that can grow upwards of 50 centimeters long and 40 centimeters wide. The flowers are clustered in umbels up to 10-15 centimeters across and are small and white. When crushed, the leaves produce a rank, unpleasant odor.

Cultivation:
Commonly found in poorly drained soils near streams, ditches, and ponds as well as roadsides, cultivated fields, and waste areas. It is a highly invasive species in 12 of the United States so pay attention to this before planting or cultivating.

Common Uses:

Culinary Uses:

Medicinal Uses:
All parts of the plant is highly poisonous, to humans as well as animals, but once the plant leaves are dried, the poison potency is reduced. Hemlock contains pyridine alkaloids coniine, N-methylconiine, conhydrine, pseudoconhydrine and ?-coniceine. Conine has a chemical structure similar to nicotine and is a neurotoxin that disrupts the central nervouse system in humans and livestock. Ingestion can cause a burning sensation in the mouth, salivation, emesis, diarrhea, muscle tremors, muscular weakness, dim vision, convulsions, coma, and respiratory collapse leading to death. In ages past, Hemlock was used as a sedative and for its antispasmodic traits. It was used to treat arthritis. Overdose can produce paralysis and loss of speech, followed by depression of the respiratory function, and then death. Hemlock causes birth defects in swine, cattle, sheep, and goats.

Magical Uses:
Hemlock is very associated with British Witchcraft.

Folklore and History:
In Ancient Greece, Hemlock was utilized to poison condemned prisoners – the most famous of which was Socrates in 399 BCE. As Plato describes Socrates’ death: “The man laid his hands on him and after a while examined his feet and legs, then pinched his foot hard and asked if he felt it. He said No; then after that, his thighs; and passing upwards in this way he showed us that he was growing cold and rigid. And then again he touched him and said that when it reached his heart, he would be gone. The chill had now reached the region about the groin, and uncovering his face, which had been covered, he said and these were his last words ‘Crito, we owe a cock to Asclepius. Pay it and do not neglect it.’ ‘That,’ said Crito, ‘shall be done; but see if you have anything else to say.’ To this question he made no reply, but after a little while he moved; the attendant uncovered him; his eyes were fixed. And Crito when he saw it, closed his mouth and eyes.” It has shown up in records to have an association with British Witchcraft. There is a long history about children accidentally being poisoned by it when they made whistles from the hollow stems.

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Delphinium



Delphinium
The Poison Garden, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Larkspur: Delphinium
Delphinium staphisagria [ Plantae: Magnoliophyta: Magnoliopsida: Ranunculales: Ranunculaceae: Delphinium: Delphinium staphisagria ]

Common Names:
Larkspur, Lark’s Heel, Lark’s Claw, Knight’s Spur.

Localities:
Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere and mountains of tropical Africa.

Species:
There are roughly 300 species.

Description:
Delphinium is a perennial flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family and is also called Larkspur. It has deeply lobed 3-7 tooth palmate shape leaves, has a erect flowering stem ranging from 10 centimeters in one species upwards of 2 meters in another and becomes topped with a raceme of multi-colored flowers ranging from purple, blue, red, white, and yellow. Purple is the most common color. Each flower has 5 petal sepals that grow together to create a hollow pocket with a spur at the end from late spring to late summer. Within he sepals are four true petals. It produces small shiny black seeds.

Cultivation:
Commonly pollinated by buterflies and bumble bees, larkspur can be cultivated by seed(though seeds require a pre-chilling to get germination going) . Larkspur prefers chalky loam soils and commonly grows wild in cornfields. Needs alot of full sunshine. It does crowd out others and steals the nurishments in the soil from other plants. Staking helps alot because it gives it support that it needs.

Common Uses:
Juice of the flowers, mixed with alum, creates a blue ink.

Culinary Uses:
Most species are toxic, but is a food source for a variety of moths.

Medicinal Uses:
All parts of the plant contain alkaloid delphinine and are very poisonous. Eating Larkspur can lead to vomiting and death. Early reports of drinking small amounts of larkspur helped against the sting of scorpions. Other herbals state the seeds can be used to compat parasites, especially lice and their nits. A tincture from Larkspur is used to treat eye diseases, asthma and dropsy.

Magical Uses:
In Transylvania it was believed to keep witches away from stables.

Folklore and History:
The Latin name relates to the Greek workd “delphis” for dolphin which alludes to the shape of the opening flower.

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