Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Horrifying Tuesday : Death Cherries

It's that time of the week again, Horrifying Tuesday. This week, we're talking about that ghastly Atropa belladonna or more commonly known as Devil's Berries, Death Cherries, or Deadly Nightshade. Hinting from the word "death" in the name "death cherries", you can assume what will happen to you if you consume one. But what exactly are death cherries? Are they simply every-day red cherries with white skull and crossbones painted on them?

The skull and crossbones indicate health and beauty.

The death cherry is commonly grown in shrub-fashion, reaching up to 5 feet tall with 7 inch leaves. The berries grown from the plant are commonly green, ripening to a piano black color; most likely to indicate the serious nature of the berry. The berries can only reach about one centimeter long in diameter, but it's as potent enough to kill a fully grown adult if consumed.

The worst part of the berry isn't it's capability of throwing you into your death bed early, but it's taste. The berries are commonly sweet which create a false sense of security for consumers and make them appear good to eat initially. (Because if you eat a berry that tastes like decaying flesh, you're unlikely to continue eating.) If you find yourself lost and hungry in a deserted island, and discover deliciously sweet black berries just sitting there in a shrub, who are you to not eat them?


The reason these berries are are called "death cherries" is because they are extremely toxic. Some toxins inside of them include scopolamine and hyoscyamine which can cause crazy hallucinations and delirium. One moment you could be sampling delicious berries and another moment, you're being chased by large hooded individuals that want to eat you in a cannibalistic fashion.

For those druggies that are looking for another way to get "high" and are considering this plant, let me remind you that the death cherries' plants are one of the most toxic plants found in the entire western hemisphere. These berries don't simply give you a few hallucinations and throw you into a hyperactive fit, they can give you : blurred vision, loss of balance, slurred speech, inability to urinate, increased heart rate, constipation, confusion, increased sensitivity to light, convulsions, a really bad headache and other not fun symptoms.

The vivid hallucinations are commonly described as unpleasant and the "recreational use" is considered extremely dangerous due to the high risk of accidental fatal overdose. Not only that, but the poison has been known to effect the central nervous system, leading to memory disruption and severe confusion.

So yeah, it's not going to resemble this movie whatsoever.

Before you pass those as off as the effects of a bad "hang over", allow me to tell you that consumption of two-five berries can easily kill any child you may know. Consumption of ten to twenty berries can easily kill a grown adult. But I know what you're thinking, even unknowingly, what are the chances are eating twenty entire wild berries at any given time? This "death cherry" only kills those ignorant pests that shouldn't be alive anyways, right? Actually, a single leaf of the death cherry can easily kill a healthy, fully grown adult.

Want to make a salad?

Thankfully, these plants are rarely grown in gardens due to their "kill everyone that touches me" nature. However, some people have been known to grow these just in case the necessity to kill someone presents itself for their nice shrubs and good looking berries. Right. Thankfully again, the seeds of these plants have difficulty germinating due to its hard seed coats, which takes a impact on the amount of plants existing at any given time. So you're safe, for now.