A surprising look at the plants around us and how they've influenced our world.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Pretty but poisonous
Sophora secundaflora (Texas mountain laurel)
The Texas Mountain Laurel is a lovely small tree with bunches of bright blue flowers. These flowers yield bright red seeds which Native Americans used as ornaments and jewelry, but also as an hallucinogen. The seeds can be used to make a drink which when dilute leads to hallucinations, but at higher doses is poisonous. The toxic compound, cytisine, causes paralyses which leads to suffocation.