“Wicked Plants” Are out to Get You

strychnine-tree-wicked-plants
This is the strychnine tree, used by nineteenth-century serial killer Dr. Thomas Neill Cream. Effing scary, right?

Despite the many lovely products (cilantro, pumpkins, marijuana, +c.) the flora of the earth provide us, plants are pretty terrifying. From the hemlock that killed Socrates to the white snakeroot that (indirectly) killed the mother of Abe Lincoln, the bizarre botanical world is on display at the Conservatory of Flowers in the exhibit “Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins.”

Honoring Amy Stewart‘s 2009 book Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities, the exhibit features plants that incapacitate, intoxicate, and even annihilate in a spooky, overgrown garden straight out of the Victorian era. You can see more than 30 species of very, very bad plants — ones that have put people underground, and ones that you might recognize from your own yard. But if you love me at all, just do me a favor: Don’t touch anything, okay?

“Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins” at the Conservatory of Flowers
100 John F. Kennedy Dr. at Kezar [Golden Gate Park]
Tuesday-Sunday through Oct. 30, 10am-4:30pm
$5

Photo courtesy of Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network

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Sarah M. Smart - Red-Light Special

Sarah M. Smart was summoned into being on a distant ice cream planet through an unholy union of Two-Buck Chuck and unicorns. They sent her to Indianapolis and then the University of Missouri's School of Journalism to spread peace and big hair. Perpetually in mourning for the comma, she has worked for a variety of print media, including Indianapolis Monthly, Global Journalist, and Vox. Since moving to San Francisco for the booming dumpster-diving scene, she has been an online operative for such fine folks as Horoscope.com , Neo-Factory, and Academy of Art University. After a day of cat-feeding, hat-making, dog-walking, vegan baking, and daydreaming about marrying rich, all she wants is a margarita as big as her face.

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