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Don’t wear shorts

Part of Alnwick Gardens, away up north. I didn’t find this one due to my local knowledge of the English countryside, I pinched it from Not the Bee.

They were very taken with the Australian Gympie Gympie plant. “Apparently the plant was first discovered when an Australian road surveyor’s horse was stung, went insane, and dropped dead in about two hours. This thing literally kills horses in less time than it would take you to watch Titanic.”

I was more taken by a post from the regular garden, a mutant foxglove. In addition to the bell flowers evenly space down the stem, there’s one monster carnation-looking spotty flower at the top.

I googled around to see how common it was and discovered it is an “anomaly peloric monstrous terminal flower mutation caused by a double recessive gene at a locus called ‘centroradialis'”. Double recessive sounds pretty rare.

I ask because someone in my circle recently came back from Hong Kong with pictures of a different sort of mutant foxglove. Instead of evenly placed individual bell flowers down the stem, it had multiple clusters of, like, eight or ten bellflowers. It was neat.

This is something like it – but a warning before you click the link, the blog post goes from talking about mutant foxgloves to talking about where to get Viagra and Cialis in the UK then back to foxgloves. Spam is afoot!

This one is close, too, and the link is to Mumsnet, so no funny business.

I have a bit of a thing about foxgloves. My grandmother had an old picture book of an enchanted garden with those creepy Victorian illustrations. I remember alllll the little fairy faces peering out of the bell flowers. No wonder foxgloves mutate.


Comment from Mitch
Time: July 5, 2023, 11:21 pm

Ah yes, the famous Gympie squared plant. There’s a story where some unfortunate fellow wiped his butt with a leaf from that plant. He killed himself.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 5, 2023, 11:45 pm

… and dropped dead in about two hours. This thing literally kills horses in less time than it would take you to watch Titanic.

While I appreciate the wit, this is not a good comparison. I had to sit through Titanic once 25 years ago (I lost a bet by misspelling “nudibranch” with and “e” instead of an “i”) and any future viewing would take less time than it would take you to watch Michael Moore eat a single potato chip.

I have to give credit to DiCaprio, though. As loathesome as he was in Titanic he has surprised me by becoming a competent actor as he’s matured.

Comment from Greg
Time: July 5, 2023, 11:51 pm

Foxgloves are one of my favorite wildflowers (they are wild around here–Pacific Northwest rainforests). The are the botanical source of digoxin, a powerful heart medication, hence the genus name Digitalis.
My favorite story was the time when an EMR Doc I worked with had a little old lady in with severe nausea, vomiting, and signs of liver problems. Whatever led him to order an assay for digoxin I’ll never know, because she was not on the medication and had no prescription for it. Lo and behold, she was severely toxic with it. On quizzing her, we came to find that she’d been nipping a small leaf of foxglove every day for years because it made her feel better and stronger. What came about was her aging liver was unable to clear it like she used to, and slowly the levels built into a toxic range.

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