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Atropa Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) - 10 Seeds
Synonyms: Deadly Nightshade, Death's Herb, Banewort, Black Cherry.
A herbaceous perennial, belladonna can be found throughout Central and Southern Europe, as well as parts of Asia and North Africa.
Belladonna prefers to grow in the shade of trees or large bushes. .
Purple-brown, bell shaped flowers give way to large, soft, shining black berries with a dark purple juice.
Belladonna belongs to the Solanaceae family, which contains over 1500 species of plants.
Some examples of other plants in this family include Mandrake, Henbane, Bittersweet, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, capsicums, chillies and tobacco.
The ancient Greeks appear to have used atropa belladonna frequently in their activities. They drank it when they visited the Oracle of the Delphi and added the juice to their famous wine of the Bacchanals.
Macbeth also used it when Duncan I was king of Scotland. Macbeth gave an army of Danes liquor spiked with the deadly nightshade during a truce.
Torturers of this time also used Atropa belladonna as a method for gaining confessions.
Witches in the Middle Ages included belladonna as one of their main ingredients in their brews. It caused the witches to experience the feeling of flying that is so closely associated with the tales of witches.
In the 18th and 19th centuries ladies used the juice from the deadly nightshade to stain their skin a purplish colour, which they considered attractive.
People used the plant as a lotion to treat gout, rheumatism, and angina in the 1800s.
In addition, belladonna was used as part of the twilight sleep era of childbirth anaesthesia and in the treatment of Parkinson's disease starting in the 19th century.
Historically, the root was used to treat inflammatory tumours and the leaf for mammary and tongue cancers, uterine cancer, carcinoma, and running cancer.
People of Nepal use it today as a sedative, while Moroccans use it to stimulate their memory and as an aphrodisiac.
The fresh juice of the belladonna berries was once used as drops to dilate the eyes - as a beauty device - thus the Latin name which translates "beautiful woman".
(Please be warned that this practice can lead to permanent blindness.)
Soak seeds for one day in water at room temperature, chill for 24 hours, then sow in flats.
May be slow to germinate, and slow-growing at first.
Belladonna likes deep, moisture retentive soil, with good drainage.
pH should be 4.5 to 7.5 in full sun or part shade.
Space plants 60cm/2 foot apart.
Grows to 1m/3foot tall.
Atropa Belladonna Growing instructions included
"Tags: atropa belladonna, belladonna seeds"