Saturday, May 20, 2017

Jimson Weed/ Pigæble

Datura stramonium

Jimson weed is a 30-100 cm tall herb, in Denmark growing wild close to building sites. The whole plant is very poisonous, and it has a very unpleasant and nauseating smell if broken or damaged.

In England it is known by the common names Jimson weed or Devil's snare. Other common names for D. stramonium include thornapple and moon flower, others include hell's bells, devil’s trumpet, devil’s weed, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, pricklyburr, and devil’s cucumber. It is a plant in the nightshade family.

Jimson weed is a heavily growing annual plant with a broad bushy growth. the stems are lightgreen to violet. The leaves are egg-shaped with unregular teeth along the edge. The upper surface is light green, the underside a little lighter. The flowers are spectular, they are trumpet shaped and very large, white or light violet. They open in the evening, but close later in the night. The seeds are egg-shaped, spiked and the size of  a walnuts When ripe they open in four chambers, each with numerous black seeds. The root system is well developed and widely branched.

The plant grow wild in large areas with inland dunes which are dominated by bushy oaks and tall grass, it is found in Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. Here it grows together with fx: sunflower,  blue wild indigo, calico aster, butterfly weed, switchgrass, hoary mugwort etc. The plant is native to North America, but was spread to the Old World early. It was scientifically described and named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753, although it had been described a century earlier by botanists such as Nicholas Culpeper. Today, it grows wild in all the world's warm and moderate regions, where it is found along roadsides and at dung-rich livestock enclosures. In Europe, it is found as a weed on wastelands and in garbage dumps. In Denmark it is found here and there on dumps and close to building sites. Its seeds can lie dormant underground for years and germinate when the soil is disturbed.

Medicine/Folk Medicine :
Datura stramonium has been used in traditional medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used entheogenically for the intense visions it produces. However, the tropane alkaloids responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalizations and deaths.

The substance hyoscamin can be produced chemically and is used by fx dentists and for eye surgery.
(Danske Klosterurter).

Jimson weed was used as a hallucinogen by the praerie people. Some have tried it in modern times, but the hallucinogene dose is only a little smaller than the deadly dose

The gipsies used the jimsonweed in flying balms like the witches. Until 1957 was sold Jimson weed- leaves = pigæble blade(in DK), rolled as cigars for asthma patients. When they had breathing difficulties they had to inhale the smoke in order to clear the respiratories. 

If you had jimsonweed-seeds in your pocket, you could fly invisible after a witch and see who she collected on her road to Bloksbjerg. 

Deliriants such as henbane, mandrake and Jimson weed are featured in many stories in European mythology.

Source: Wikipedia, Danske klosterurter, Anemette Olesen, Aschehoug 2001. 
photos from wikipedia

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