Cestrum parqui – Willow Leaved Jessamine

Cestrum parqui: invasive, poisonous to livestock, poultry and humans the ingesting of which will result in a quick but excruciating death similar to strychnine poisoning, if you survive painful death the foliage smells horrid.  Being defence lawyer for Cestrum parqui is not the easiest job in the world but I will do my best.  Again this is a problem plant in Australia, which seems to bear the brunt of introduced thugs, but it is invasive only in certain conditions which allow it run riot unchecked.  In this country it is borderline hardy and therefore is knocked back hard each year, thwarting any ideas above its station.  It comes from South America and is a member of the Solanaceae or potato family.  This family is unusual in that its members include some very important food crops, such as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, and many highly poisonous plants such are Deadly Nightshade and of course tobacco.  I know that I have previously mentioned eating various berries in the garden but I wouldn’t dream of doing so unless I was certain it was safe.  A lot of garden plants are detrimental to your health (we certainly could do some damage if riled) but it’s not rocket science, if it’s not a known food don’t eat it!  As for the stinking foliage, this is a good indicator that it is not advisable to nibble its leaves, and no pests so far have been daft enough to do that.  The flowers are night scented and the clusters of yellow tubular blooms will continue, as we always say, to charm us until the first frosts.


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