NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Water hemlock plant (Cicuta sp.), 18th-century illustration. This plant contains the toxin cicutoxin, which can cause fatal convulsions. Artwork from 'A Curious Herbal' (1737) by Scottish herbalist Elizabeth Blackwell (c.1700-1758). This work contained 500 illustrations of medicinal plants, and was created by Blackwell to raise money to pay her husband's debts and release him from debtor's prison. She drew, engraved, and coloured the illustrations, mostly using plant specimens from the Chelsea Physic Garden in London. It was an artistic, scientific and commercial enterprise unprecedented for a woman of her time.
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