Tag Archives: wolfsbane

Bane of the Garden

I woke early and climbed onto the widow’s walk to have coffee with the morning sun. Bubo was there as well, grumbling because some neighborhood cats have been traipsing through the garden and therefore spoiling Bubo’s hunting ground. This is Brooklyn, and there are many many rats. Bubo likes to keep them away from the house, which I appreciate, considering all the small creatures we have. (Creatures smaller than New York City rats, which are alarmingly large.)

So she and I had a discussion which turned into a debate which turned into a full-blown argument about planting wolfsbane in the garden.

Wolfsbane (also known as Aconitum vulparia) is a plant that grows quite well in damp mountainous areas and blooms in the summer months. The blooms are gorgeous sulfur yellow flowers that bumble bees go bonkers for. But, and perhaps more importantly, wolfsbane is incredibly poisonous. The plant contains lycoctonine which is so poisonous that ingesting even a small amount can prove fatal. If one’s skin rubs against the plant, it can cause itching and dermatitis. (Incidentally, witches have long used wolfsbane to reverse shapeshifting spells, and folk traditions call for the plant in the defense against werewolves.)

Bubo and my argument was simple: though a sprinkling of wolfsbane throughout the garden would keep the marauding cats away, it would also undoubtedly cause a sprinkling of other poisoned creatures in the garden.

What’s your take?

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