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
Photo courtesy of Brisbane Rainforest Action and Information Network