SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Deadly nightshade plant. Historical artwork of the deadly nightshade plant (Atropa belladonna). This poisonous plant is used in herbal medicine for its narcotic and antispasmodic effects. It contains the chemicals atropine and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the roots and leaves may be fatal, especially in children. Preparations of the plant can also relieve localised pain. Atropine is still used in eye surgery to dilate the pupils of the eye. The flowers (pink) develop into a black berry (lower left) after fertilisation. From The Instructive Picture Book or Lessons from the Vegetable World, Charlotte Mary Yonge, 1857.
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