Flowers–Pretty and Poison

I am glad to see summer.  My north garden has recovered from a bit of transplant shock.  Some of my flowers come back every year.  In 1998 I worked hard all summer removing pesky weeds.  Just to see what they would become, I let a few grow and they turned into Columbines.  The White Nancy aka Spotted Deadnettle took hold the first year I planted and come back every year.  Petunias change from year to year as does the lobelia.  This year’s new guy on the block is something called White Sparkle.  The yellow flowers growing in competition with the White Nancys are unknown, until I find the tag that came with them.


When I started looking up the blooming flowers I was a bit startled by the poisonous nature of some of them.  I am sure the plants that are not blooming will turn out to be just as notorious.  I suppose my flower bed and flower pots are potential smoking guns for future fiction!

Enjoy my garden photos.  Below each photo I have included information, mostly lifted from Wikipedia.  Hoover over the Name of the Flower to see where the description originated.


From Wikipedia


The flowers of various species of Colombine were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment with other fresh greens, and are reported to be very sweet, and safe if consumed in small quantities. The plant’s seeds and roots are highly poisonous however, and contain cardiogenic toxins which cause both severe gastroenteritis and heart palpitations if consumed as food. Native Americans used very small amounts of Aquilegia root as an effective treatment for ulcers. However, the medical use of this plant is better avoided due to its high toxicity; columbine poisonings may be fatal.[3]



Lobelia erinus, a South African annual plant that includes many cultivated selections in a wide variety of colours. They are grown in beds, large pots, window boxes and in hanging baskets. The plants are most often grown away from sunny hot southern exposures (northern exposures in the southern hemisphere) in soils that are moisture retentive.

In the Victorian language of flowers, the lobelia symbolizes malevolence and ill will.

Native Americans used lobelia to treat respiratory and muscle disorders, and as a purgative. Today it is used to treat asthma and food poisoning, and is often used as part of smoking cessation programs. It is a physical relaxant, and can serve as a nerve depressant, easing tension and panic. The species used most commonly in modern herbalism is Lobelia inflata (Indian Tobacco).[12]

Extracts of Lobelia inflata contain lobeline, which showed positive effects in the treatment of multidrug-resistant tumor cells.[13] Furthermore, lobeline can be modified to lobelane which decreased methamphetamine self-administration in rats.[14] It therefore opens a perspective in methamphetamine dependency treatment.[15]

As used in North America, lobelia’s medicinal properties include the following: emetic (induces vomiting), stimulant, antispasmodic, expectorant, diaphoretic, relaxant, nauseant, sedative, diuretic, and nervine. It has been used as “asthmador” in Appalachian folk medicine [16]

Because of its similarity to nicotine, the internal use of lobelia may be dangerous to susceptible populations, including children, pregnant women, and individuals with cardiac disease. Excessive use will cause nausea and vomiting. It is not recommended for use by pregnant women and is best administered by a practitioner qualified in its use. Several studies show that lobelia is ineffective in helping people to quit smoking.[17]

Two species, Lobelia siphilitica and Lobelia cardinalis, were considered a cure for syphilis.[18]


White Nancys

The better-behaved varieties of lamium such as ‘White Nancy’, ‘Beacon Silver’, and ‘Pink. Family: Lamiaceae · Common Name: Spotted Dead Nettle. Random stuff about Paghat the Ratgirl’s gardens. ‘White Nancy’ Spotted Deadnettle “The flower that freshly blooms to-day To-morrow will be swept away.” White Nancy Spotted Dead Nettle. Common Name: Dead nettle Genus: Lamium Species: maculatum Skill Level: Beginner. Browse pictures and read growth / cultivation information about Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum) ‘White Nancy’ supplied by member gardeners in the PlantFiles database at Dave. White Nancy is a white-flowered form of beacon Silver. Glowing silver leaves edged with dark green accent white summer flowers If you have trouble with marauding deer pests eating your plants, you won’t have to worry about spotted dead nettle, since deer tend to leave it alone. ‘White Nancy’ lamiums stay. Spotted dead nettles, display an attractive silvery foliage.



Some botanists place the plants of the genus Calibrachoa in the genus Petunia.[4] Botanically speaking, tobacco, tomato, potato, and petunia are all in the family Solanaceae.[5]

Petunias are generally insect pollinated with the exception of P. exserta, which is a rare, red-flowered, hummingbird pollinated species. Most petunias are diploid with 14 chromosomes and are infertile with other petunia species.[citation needed]

The tubular flowers are favoured by some Lepidoptera species including the Hummingbird hawk moth.[6] The flowers are eaten by the larvae of the corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea and the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni.[7]


White Sparkles

The Stardust Euphorbia Series
Among the new annual euphorbias are the new Stardust series. These plants are often sold as flowering pot plants for indoors and for outdoor container gardens. They can also be used in garden beds and borders for summer color.
The Stardust series is grown and treated much like the ever-popular Diamond Frost euphorbia. Stardust includes several beautiful shades. All of these have small, delicate blooms. Pink Glitter Stardust and Pink Shimmer Stardust have very dark colored foliage that contrasts beautifully with the flowers.
Pink Shimmer Stardust is literally a mass of white blooms with pink tinges. It has an open growth habit.
White Sparkle Stardust is covered with masses of white blooms. Very floriferous, it is a very compact plant.
Pink Glitter Stardust has the darkest foliage of all. Its floral bracts are pink.



Flax is the emblem of Northern Ireland and used by the Northern Ireland Assembly. In a coronet, it appeared on the reverse of the British one pound coin to represent Northern Ireland on coins minted in 1986 and 1991. Flax also represents Northern Ireland on the badge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and on various logos associated with it.

Common flax is the national flower of Belarus.

In early tellings of the Sleeping Beauty tale, such as Sun, Moon, and Talia by Giambattista Basile, the princess pricks her finger not on a spindle but on a sliver of flax, which is later sucked out by her children conceived as she sleeps.

Till next time, Don’t Touch Anything Sharp and Don’t Eat from my North Garden!

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.