Devil’s Trumpet

Devil's Trumpet

As you know,  that is to say, if you read the blog on a regular basis you know,  that I am trying to look at weeds in a new way. I really am, and time and again this summer I have found myself pleasantly surprised. I found that the little purple flower growing throughout the “lawn” was actually a medicinal called Self-heal, or Prunella vulgaris. I was pleased to learn that traditionally it was used to treat burst boils, backaches, it was used as an eye wash on cold windy days, and taken for general indisposition. Chewing on the plant is supposed to help with sore throats… the list goes on and on. My point is that I was quite happy to find I had a useful, rather pretty plant volunteering to grow in my yard. Awesome, right?

So, this new found appreciation of plants and their functions has been building for a while; and as an exercise in this new way of thinking I have been resisting pulling up “weeds”. I have been fairly good, only pulling up the ones that decide to grow in the paths, or if I know that they are poisonous (like Nightshade, which grows everywhere around here!).

In the back of our lot, we have a fire pit. In this area, there is also a kids playhouse. It is set into our enormous Honeysuckle bush. It was a great idea, it is like a hidden play space for the kids… I like it cause it looks almost like a magical cottage, but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, this spring I planted a small garden for the kids playhouse with columbine, and ferns and Indian Strawberries (Duchesnea indica). Over time, some weeds came up in the bed, mostly it was just Honeysuckle suckers. Then about 6 weeks ago I noticed a weed that was strikingly different than the others I had seen around the yard, and said to myself “I will wait to find out what it is before I either remove it or get excited”.

Kid's playhouse

This morning I found out what it is, Devil’s Trumpet.

Now, I have to tell you, I have had a sense of foreboding in relation to this plant. It has kept me up at night thinking about what it might be, worrying even;” What could this plant be”,” it sure is getting big”, “I wonder when it will flower so I can identify it”, “I sure hope it is not poisonous!”.I can’t say I have ever experienced this much anxiety over a plant, and I likely never will again. It was bizarre to say the least.

As it turns out, it was a good thing I exercised caution in relation to this plant. Not only is this beautiful plant toxic but it can and has caused death on multiple occasions! The part that gets me is that it is not supposed to grow this far north! Apparently it does not grow in Canada, but here it is! Wiki-pedia gave me the answers I was looking for after I had identified it, I could not find it in any of my books…I noticed the first flowers yesterday morning, and from there spent some of my free time researching. I guess it was used my Native American people in rituals back in the day… Today it is used mainly as an ornamental plant. I can see why, but I don’t think we will be keeping this plant (even if it is referred to as a “witch’s herb”, sadly I have no use for a hallucinogenic toxic death causing plant in my yard. If you are interested in the seeds, contact me here as I will be saving them (to avoid it seeding itself).


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