I want to transport this exhibit to my house and live in it.
Recently I volunteered at the Wicked Plants exhibit at the museum. I was an exhibit docent, which meant that I was to learn as much as I could about the exhibit and then tell the visitors about it.
What I generally did was give tours. I would greet the visitors at the entrance of the exhibit and ask if they would like a short tour. Usually they said that they would, and I would take them through all the rooms and tell the visitors a few facts about the plants that were there. I would also instruct them on how to use the interactive objects contained in the exhibit.
I want to give you a little tour via internet.
This is the Courtyard or Conservatory. Contained in this room are Invasive Species. You see, some plants aren’t poisonous. Sometimes they are nearly impossible to get rid of.
Kudzu is one such plant. Perhaps you have heard of it. It is a Japanese plant that was imported with the intention of using it to control erosion. It worked, but then the plant took over. It isn’t poisonous, and in some places people eat it, and in other places it is fed to livestock. This is the only way to keep the population under control. This plant can grow up to a foot on warm days.
This room was technically called the Yard. I preferred to call it the Cemetery or Graveyard.
I believe that the crypt is intended to be that of Abraham Lincoln’s mother; whose death was caused by White Snakeroot.
You see, the Wicked Plants exhibit is the home of the Nightshade Family.
If we want to talk science, Nightshade is a classification, a family of plant that contains over 60 species, all of which are identified by their deadly threats.
The Nightshade Family Manor has been overrun with plants. How could this happen, you ask? Couldn’t they have called an exterminator?
They could have, if they were living. But Bella, the last surviving member of the Nightshade Family, is dead.
Ah, look! There she is.
Meet Bella. Picante Bella Nightshade. That picture in the upper right hand corner of the picture is her in her younger days.
Does she remind you of Jessica Rabbit, or is that just me?
This room contained a mystery. When guests reached this room it became their job to figure out what killed Bella. I told them to read everything, open things, and instructed them on how to find the answer when they were ready.
Because you are on this tour via internet and therefor cannot participate in the mystery, I will tell you what has happened to Bella.
She was sewing a necklace of Rosary Peas, but, unlike many beads, these were actual berries.
The juice of Rosary Peas can be fatal if ingested or absorbed.
While she was sewing the necklace, Bella accidentally (I assume) pricked her finger, allowing juice to sink into her bloodstream.
This is what killed her.
This room was very strange; there were some very … odd pictures on the wall. This room talked about Urishiol Oil. It is the irritant contained in Poison Ivy, as well as cashews and mango rinds, to name a few. The more frequently that you are exposed to it, the worse the effects of each following time are.
This is the dining room. A lot of the foods that we eat on a regular basis can actually be dangerous is not prepared properly, or when eaten too frequently. The latter can cause deficiencies, particularly with corn.
I will be doing a post about the dangers of corn at a later time; I find it so interesting that it deserves its own post.
This is the last room that I will be showing you. It is the Hallucinogenic Drugs room.
This section of the exhibit was intended to show how things would look to someone using these plants. Note the fun house mirror. You cannot see much of the room from this picture; there wasn’t a place to get a great angle. Other curiosities of the room included a copy of The Old Man and the Sea that was 10x too large and a book that, when opened, displayed a hologram of a pig.
That concludes my tour. I hope that you have enjoyed it.
Usually, at the museum, I would say, ‘Enjoy the rest of your visit!’ but because we are online, that sentence would hardly fit. Instead, I will direct you to Wicked Plants (The Book).
This book is full of interesting and little known facts. I have read mcuh that I will enjoy sharing with my friends. Some of the plants mentioned in the exhibit were also written about in the book. Even so, I found myself continuing to learn about these plants.
Until next time!