Flowers of Evil
Nicholson, Rob, Natural History
Potent chemicals lurk behind some of South America's most alluring blossoms.
In 1857 the French poet Charles Baudelaire published a collection of poems entitled The Flowers of Evil. Being a botanist, I once searched through the volume, curious as to which flowers he had in mind. I should have realized that poets don't mean things so literally. Had Baudelaire needed to single out a bloom whose beauty was coupled with malevolence, however, I would have offered him a flowering branch of Brugmansia, the angel's-trumpet of South America. This tree's flowers are among the largest and most sumptuous in the plant kingdom, while the stems, leaves, and roots contain narcotic and …
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Publication information: Article title: Flowers of Evil. Contributors: Nicholson, Rob - Author. Magazine title: Natural History. Volume: 111. Issue: 1 Publication date: February 2002. Page number: 20. © American Museum of Natural History Dec 2008/Jan 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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