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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The witches flower...

Atropa Belladonna, is featured once again on the Botany Photo of the Day.

The epithet belladonna translates to “beautiful lady”. The reason commonly cited for the name is the attractiveness caused by the pupil dilation that accompanies an application of atropine to the eye (this technique was used centuries ago as part of make-up preparations). I'm not entirely convinced, though, as I have a suspicion that the name predates that practice. Perhaps it has more to do with the legend of the plant metamorphosizing into a woman on Walpurgis Night.

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