This exotic flower is that of Brugmansia sanguinea or the Red Angels Trumpet. Behind the beauty there is a more sinister side; all parts of this plant are extremely toxic and it has been used variously as a trance inducing hallucinogenic and an executioner’s tool. It was traditionally used in its native South America in rituals and medicinally but then they knew what they were doing. Not surprisingly, it is a member of the split-personality Solanaceae, a family renown for both deadly poisonous plants and the production of some of our most valued foods such as potatoes, tomatoes and aubergine.
The good old RHS consider this plant tender, requiring temperature of 7C to survive, but it has come through two winters outside at Cliffe under a mulch and therefore must have experienced far lower. It is planted in a sunny(ish) and sheltered position but perhaps a little dry for optimum performance which could explain why it is only now coming into flower. These evening fragrant trumpet-shaped blooms are moth pollinated. In the wild it can reach 10m but in the wilds of North Devon it is unlikely it will ever reach 2m as every year it is cut down to the base by the frost.
I took this photo this morning as it has just opened its first flower of the year. It is unlikely this plant will get through the storm unscathed. I am glad it has had its chance to shine and it certainly made my day.
Scary Drives Top Three:
1. On motorway in thick fog with my mum
2. To work on frozen roads with Hero
3. Home tonight on my own.
Hope everyone is safe tonight.