A Less Welcome Guest

Normally, I don’t like bourgeois pursuits like weeding. I feel that plants should Do Their Thing and I mostly try to hold the line at keeping them from growing over the top of my house.

I do have a couple of spray cans of weed killer, which I use on the occasional errant tree, or something like this fellow here:

Datura Stramonium, AKA, “Deadly Nightshade” [wik]

I am careful not to get such things into my pickled beets. Don’t any of you worry. I swear.

Bolete season is coming. Perhaps I’ll take my camera out for a walk some fine morning. I get very impressive boletes out here.


  1. jazzlet says

    Seriously jealous of you getting boletes, although I am making the assumption they are edible, which displays my British view point. Over here unless the bolete has red pores it will be edible, not all are fantastic tasting, but only the red pored ones are poisonous.

  2. kestrel says

    BOLETES!!! ***swoon*** I am going up now, this very moment after I type this, to look for some.

    I thought that was a datura the moment I saw it. They actually grow it as an ornamental in Santa Fe, and it does have very lovely flowers, BUT… Around my place you see Conium maculatum (hemlock) growing in fields and ditch banks and even people’s yards. I sure don’t tolerate it on my place; it shocks me that people don’t appear to know what it is and don’t immediately rush out with a shovel and dispatch it.

  3. ridana says

    That’s Jimson weed. Deadly nightshade is Atropa belladonna. Both belong to the nightshade family, but they’re very different looking plants, especially the seeds. Jimson weed produces spikey pods that have “don’t eat me” written all over them (I’d swear they were the inspiration for the Alien face-hugger pods), while belladonna has ovate leaves and inviting, sweet black berries on a more tree-like bush.

    I don’t blame you for taking them out. They’ll take over a pasture if you let them. Still, despite their thorniness, I remember being fascinated as a child by the seeds, which look like tiny black hearts.

  4. Owlmirror says

    I recognize that! I spotted this plant behind a fence in a small overgrown lot, and was fascinated by the spiral white flowers. [checks photos] Yup, same leaves as well as the same flowers.

    I have photographed jimsonweed in bloom.

  5. says

    I just cannot see weeding as a bourgeois pursuit. Where I live, nobody with any money ever did the job. Mostly poor women and children (generally female children) did that. Even poor male farmers who liked to see themselves as heads of the family looked down upon weeding. And in the USSR they even had a whole system that dispatched girls from schools and women from universities to weed kolkhoz fields during summers. Everybody hated the job, and nobody wanted to do it voluntarily. When I was younger several adults attempted to force me to do some weeding. I always sought ways how to avoid this chore at all costs (most of the time I succeeded, I have done very little weeding in my life).

    Nowadays, thanks to weedkillers, this cultural perception is shifting, because people no longer need to pick weeds with their hands. But, since I got used to perceiving weeding as one of the worst jobs there is back when I was a child, I still associate weeding with poverty and shitty life.

  6. kestrel says

    @Marcus, #8: There is a HUGE (haha, pun intended) difference between hemlock TREES (Tsuga canadensis) and Conium maculatum which looks an awful lot like wild carrot. Unless, of course, your house is really, really tiny… I don’t think you could make “beams” out of it. :-) The stems are hollow and have purple spots on them. Sometimes children make whistles out of the stems, with occasionally tragic results, and yes, C. maculatum was indeed the plant that was the end of Socrates.

    Nevertheless I am convinced your house is scary to philosophers, just for different reasons!

  7. says

    here is a HUGE (haha, pun intended) difference between hemlock TREES (Tsuga canadensis) and Conium maculatum which looks an awful lot like wild carrot

    Well, that is good to know. I used to worry when P-nut ate the hemlock when we were on the trail. It made him foam at the mouth a bit but other than that, nothing ever seemed to affect him much. He liked mountain laurel too. And whenever he got near a cornfield he’d usually obliterate a big swatch…

  8. says

    I can’t stop laughing at the idea weeding is bourgeois.

    I associate it with the whole manicured lawn, riding mower, landscaping thing – which is definitely bourgeois compared to non-hobby farming.

  9. says

    Ieva Skrebele@#7:
    I just cannot see weeding as a bourgeois pursuit. Where I live, nobody with any money ever did the job.

    I realize I was unclear. I didn’t mean that weeding is a bourgeois pastime, but rather a bourgeois concern. I do my own yard maintenance, but that’s because I want to be one of those people who does his own dirty work.