Color me mildly annoyed that a syndicated story about kids eating jimson weed that ran in our local rag this week totally failed to mention the botanical name of the plant. Paragraph after paragraph went by in which I learned such tidbits as the following:
The jimson plant is located throughout the United States — including Western New York — and parts of Canada.
The potentially deadly symptoms include abnormal heart rhythm, respiratory arrest, high fever, hallucination, seizures and coma.
The uncomfortable symptoms include hot, dry skin. That could explain why some patients come in nude to emergency rooms, said Lisa Oller, senior poison specialist with the University of Kansas Hospital Poison Control Center in Kansas City, Kan.
The weed goes by many names, including gypsum weed, stinkweed, loco weed and thorn apple. Some people call it moonflower. But Queen, the Derby police lieutenant, said moonflower is a different plant — a cousin of jimson weed — that gets used for the same hallucinogenic effect.
But nowhere in all this did the actual name of the plant appear. Of course, knowing the botanical name would not have stopped the kids from eating it, but this is an article that is supposed to be giving parents important facts. One of those facts would certainly be the correct name of the plant. Sigh.
Those crazy kids. Some of my less-desirable friends used to toy with that stuff too, back in the day. They knew it was dangerous, and they said enough about it to make me think twice.
And that’s why I’m here today.