Monday, May 10, 2010

"Common Viper's Bugloss - Photo of the Day - May 10th, 2010

Common Viper's Bugloss - Photo of the Day - May 10th, 2010
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"Common Viper's Bugloss"

Small blue flowers crown the tips of a common viper’s bugloss plant. Captured near Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

Common viper’s-bugloss was introduced to North America as a garden flower in the 1600s; by the mid-1800s, agriculturalists were condemning it as a vile foreign weed. Although it is said to be edible, it would make a rather bristly dish. In fact, some people get rashes by simply touching this hairy plant. The beautiful flowers, on the other hand, make a pretty garnish when floated in punch or tossed in salads.

At one time, common viper’s-bugloss was said to have the power to drive away sadness, especially when combined with wine. It was also believed to counteract viper venom, and therefore to cure all snake bites. Unfortunately, it was most effective when administered before the bite, which required a certain amount of foresight.

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